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Rail strikes drove shoppers online, suggests Wunderkind


Industrial action on the UK’s rail network on 01 and 03 February resulted in an ecommerce boost as shoppers switched to online stores in a bid to beat travel disruption.

Data from Wunderkind’s Marketing Pulse, which analysed over 32,500 thousand shopper journeys, showed that UK digital revenues saw a year-on-year boost on the strike days.

On Wednesday 01 February, the first day of industrial action, year-on-year digital revenues rose 37.8%, while on the Friday ecommerce revenues were up 40.55% year-on-year.

“The retail sector has been hit with unprecedented levels of turbulence and unpredictability over the last few years, and that includes the industrial action we’re now seeing,” said Wulfric Light-Wilkinson, general manager international at Wunderkind.

“In-store footfall understandably dipped on the strike days, but our data shows that many retailers were able to leverage their ecommerce offerings to make up some lost ground – an example of the omnichannel retail model coming into its own.

“Beyond increasing digital revenues, traffic boosts like this present an important opportunity for brands to grow their first-party customer database and build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with consumers.”

There was some good news for the high street on the first day of the strike as data from Sensormatic Solutions recorded a slight rise on Wednesday 01 February. Andy Sumpter, Sensormatic Solutions’ EMEA retail consultant, suggested “some shoppers are learning to live with the continued strike disruption”.

He also reported that the teachers strike also “brought about a change to consumers’ routines and could have contributed to the uplift as some parents took extra days off to cater for childcare with many schools closed”.

This was not the case on the Friday however, with data showing shopper traffic dipping 5.3% week-on-week on 03 February. Birmingham was the city to see the biggest drop in footfall on Friday, down 17.8% week-on-week, with major shopping hubs including Leeds and Liverpool also seeing decreased shopper visits compared to the Friday prior, down 11.1% and 8.4% respectively, while London saw a 6.9% dip.

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