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Retail footfall traffic has continued to see a decline in January according to data released from ShopperTrak.


The first three weeks of the year saw -6.7%, -1.9% and -1.2% decline respectively when compared to last year.


Over the Christmas period saw a steep decline in footfall with the three weeks leading up to Christmas declining -5.6%, -5.1% and -15.4% year-on-year respectively.


The week of Christmas and Boxing Day sales saw the biggest drop at -22.5% year-on-year.


ShopperTrak general manager for Australia and South East Asia Adam Ioakim said that this could attributed to the rising popularity of new sale periods in the lead up to Christmas.


“Christmas was particularly poor and we attribute this down to the rise of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy in Australia, all of which took place in November.


“My view is that a proportion of Christmas shopping took place during these events and therefore detracted from traffic to discretionary spend retailers in the lead up to Christmas.”


Footfall has seen a decline year-on-year each week since just after Black Friday.


On the week of Black Friday sales, footfall increased 4.2% on the previous year.


Despite the continued decline, Ioakim said that the majority of purchases are still happening in-store though.


“Society is also changing in the way that we shop.


“The 'browse in-store, buy in-store' model is no longer as prevalent as it was several years ago.


“Online does take away some of the previously held in-store transactions, however 90% of purchases are still taking place in-store.


“This becomes relevant as a lot of browsing and research is now taking place well in advance of an in-store visit and not necessarily via the in-store visit.


“This creates a reduction in traffic, but on the positive side it also provides an opportunity as visitors tend to be highly activated consumers knowing exactly what they want to purchase when they head in store.”


For 2019, he predicts this trend will stay the same with low single digit declines in traffic continuing.


“Retailers need to maximise every in-store visitor via great customer service, which is the single biggest differentiator to online store.”

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