What does a late Easter mean for European retail traffic?

Article
by ShopperTrak on 04-04-19

This year Good Friday falls on 19th April and Easter Sunday 21st April, making Easter 2019 particularly late in the calendar.

Generally, the later Easter falls, the less likelihood of retailers enjoying a boost in average traffic, our data has shown . This means retailers must work harder to win Easter-related sales. For 2019 traffic is likely to follow patterns seen in 2017 when Easter also fell mid-April.

Using ShopperTrak’s historic data, we explore the predicted traffic trends in Europe for Easter 2019.

Germany Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

Easter has a significant impact on shopping trends in Germany. A large boost in traffic should be expected on Easter Saturday, with average traffic being up +18% over the past four years (on average).

Furthermore, an increase in week-on-week traffic can be expected, being up +20% on average over the past four years.

However, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday will all see significant drops in traffic as Germans spend time with their families.

Over the past four years, average traffic has been down -89% on Good Friday, -44% on Easter Sunday, and -89% on Easter Monday.

Germans should concentrate efforts on Thursday 18th April. A boost in traffic the day before Good Friday can be expected, with average traffic being up +29% (on average) for the past four years.

UK Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

Friday and Saturday will be the busiest days of Easter weekend in the UK with Thursday (before Good Friday) traffic largely similar to that of Good Friday – actually surpassing it in some years (2015 and 2017).

A boost in Thursday traffic can be expected, with traffic on average being up almost +12% against the average Thursday for the past four years.

Our data shows that Good Friday traffic is usually up against the average Friday (+3% on average). The only exception to this was in 2017 when traffic was down -4% on the average.

Easter Sunday traffic has consistently been down by over -60% on the average Sunday with many stores closed.

Saturday trends have fluctuated over the past four years. While average traffic was up in 2018, it was down for the previous years, getting steadily worse from 2015-2017.

2018 saw a big improvement in year-on-year traffic, thanks to Easter falling earlier combined with good weather. Good Friday YoY traffic was up +7.4% and Saturday YoY traffic up +5.7%.

France Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

Easter Saturday will be the busiest day of the Easter weekend, however French retailers should expect a drop in average traffic across the long weekend, our trend data suggests. Retailers may also be affected by the ongoing gilet jaune riots taking place in Paris and other cities.

For the past three years, Good Friday traffic fell below the average level, although the extent to which it fell lessened the later Easter was. For example, in 2017 when Easter fell in mid-April, Good Friday traffic was only down -0.9% against the average, but in 2016 when it took place at the end of March, traffic was down -8.6%.

However, 2017 saw Easter Saturday traffic fall below average (-1.7%) – the only year this has occurred since 2015. 2015 and 2018, when Easter fell at the very end of March/beginning of April, saw traffic increase by over +6% in both years.

Unlike in Germany and the UK, the day before Good Friday does not always bring an uplift in traffic. The only year to see a traffic boost was 2017 (+4.9%). Easter fell late in 2017 which suggests retailers might see a similar Thursday traffic boost in 2019.

On a week-on-week basis however, retailers should expect a boost in traffic on some days. For the past four years, Easter Saturday has been up +7% on average against the previous week. However, Easter Monday traffic has been down significantly for the past four years, at -20% on average.

Spain Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

Easter is the most important national celebration in Spain, when Semana Santa (Holy Week) features epic processions and unique, age-old traditions specific to each region. Here Easter usually results in large drops in average traffic across Spain.

The past four years have seen average traffic on Good Friday fall by -49%, although 2018 saw the smallest drop in the past four years at -42%.

The Thursday before Good Friday, as well as Easter Saturday, have seen mixed results over the past four years. 2015 and 2018 saw increases in average traffic, while traffic fell in 2016 and 2017.

Easter Monday traffic has been down over the past four years, but the extent to which it has been down against the average Monday has lessened. It was down -15.4% in 2015 but down -10% in 2018.

Both 2018 and 2017 saw year-on-year traffic increases over the whole of the Easter weekend, especially on Good Friday, up +12% YoY in 2018 and +18% YoY in 2017.

Italy Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

In contrast to many other European countries, apart from on Easter Sunday, Italy can expect big boosts in shopper traffic at Easter.

For the past four years, Good Friday traffic has been up +20% on average, Easter Saturday has been up +13% on average, and Easter Monday has been up almost +21% on average (all figures against the average comparable day i.e. Good Friday vs average Friday traffic).

An uplift in traffic on the Thursday prior to Good Friday should also be expected in 2019. With the exception of 2016 when traffic fell, there has been an increase in traffic against the average on this day for the past four years, notably up +13.3% in 2017 and up +14.8 in 2018.

With shops in many regions closed, Easter Sunday traffic will be down significantly, being down by at least -86% over the past four years. Year-on-year results have been more mixed. In 2018 Good Friday and Easter Saturday saw increases (+4.2% and +10.9% respectively), but Easter Monday saw traffic fall -0.7%.

Poland Easter 2019 shopper traffic prediction

With the exception of Good Friday, for which a small uplift in traffic (+1-2% against the average) may be expected, traffic will be down for the rest of the Easter weekend in Poland where traditional celebrations take precedence.

For the past four years, traffic has been down against the average by the following amount (averaged over 4 years): Easter Saturday: -53%; Easter Sunday: -94%; Easter Monday: -87%.

An uplift in traffic can be expected for the Thursday prior to Good Friday however, as shoppers prepare for their family celebrations, with traffic being up +9% against the average for the past four years. A week-on-week uplift in traffic can be expected on Good Friday, with the uplift steadily increasing over the past three years.

Interested in shopper traffic trends by country? Follow month-on-month updates by visiting ShopperTrak’s online resource centre here.

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