Warm weather and late Easter expected to boost retail and hospitality spending

Posted on

UK high streets are expected to be busy this Easter weekend, with forecasters predicting an increase in the number of people going out to spend money on food and drink.

According to the latest footfall predictions from Springboard, mild spring weather and the fact that the bank holiday weekend falls not long after March’s payday, are expected to lead to an 8.8% increase in the number of shoppers on the high street. In total, footfall to all outlets is expected to be up by 5.4% year on year, in contrast to a 1.9% fall over Easter 2016.

Springboard director Diane Wehrle said: 

“Mild spring weather is forecast for this Easter, which falls after the national payday. This strongly indicates that more shoppers will visit retail destinations over the weekend compared with last year.”

Retail footfall was up by 1.2% in March following six months of decline, but there was a move towards evening spending at food and drink outlets as shoppers prioritised experiences over goods. 

The research also found that online sales will continue to grow much more rapidly, with ecommerce data firm PCA Predict forecasting a 17% increase in transactions over the four-day weekend. 

Figures by Visa underlined the shift towards online shopping, with virtual retailers recording an 8.2% increase in spending in March.

Chris Harle at PCA Predict said Easter Monday was typically one of the busiest days of the year for online shopping, and this year was unlikely to be different. He said customers were increasingly using mobile phones and tablets to do their shopping, and these channels were expected to account for 49% of online purchases over the weekend.

“With good weather in sight, it is likely that mobile shoppers will continue to make purchases out in the sunshine via smartphone or tablet ... We are also likely to see consistent mobile usage throughout the day, including over the dinner table, with few dramatic spikes.”