London shoppers

Retailers are set to be hard hit during the Boxing Day sales period, with spending down for the third consecutive year, according to a new retail report1.

The findings revealed in the VoucherCodes Shopping for Christmas 2020 report, carried out by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR), show that spending on Boxing Day is estimated to hit £3.2bn. In comparison to the same date in 2019, sales are forecast to drop by more than a quarter (26%).

Offline sales on Boxing Day are estimated to reach £1.5bn (down 54% year-on-year) with 8.6 million shoppers expected to hit the high street. However, online spending is set to grow by 56% from 2019, rising to £1.8bn this year.

The report explains that the government’s new tiering system, which was introduced the weekend before Christmas, has had a huge impact on the figures. Prior to the announcement, spending was expected to reach £12.7bn in total between 26-31 December, however, the sales figures are now predicted to reach a total of £10.6bn, with 89 million shoppers taking advantage of the sales both online and offline.


Taking into account Christmas Day, when many retailers start their December sales, the overall figure from 25-31 Dec will hit £11.7bn.

London spending will be most sharply affected by the new restrictions due to being in tier 4 and having such a high concentration of shopping centres and department stores. Bricks and mortar retailers will be the worst hit, having been expected to make £779m on Boxing Day in these areas prior to entering tier 4. This is now forecast to drop 76% to just £187 million.

Between 26-31 December sales in London and the South East will now only reach £2.8bn, down by over a third (36%) having initially being expected to hit £4.4bn.

Anita Naik, Lifestyle Editor at VoucherCodes, commented: “The post-Christmas sales are always one of the busiest times for retailers, and while this is still the case, it’s not surprising to see a decline in sales for the third year in a row, especially due to the new restrictions in place for most of the country.

“In tiers 1, 2 and 3, retailers can continue to trade so the picture is mixed. However, the impact on spending in Scotland and Wales – which are both bringing in new lockdown measures from Boxing Day – as well as areas in England that are already in tier 4, is severe.

“Of course, consumers can still make the most of the sales by shopping online and the outlook here does look better. For those hoping to grab a bargain, DealFinder by VoucherCodes automatically finds and supplies the best discounts while you’re shopping online and is a quick and easy way to make sure you don’t overspend.”