Total retail footfall in the UK for 2021 fell by 33.2% on a year-on-two-years (Yo2Y) basis, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Sensormatic IQ.
The data also showed that footfall for the whole year grew by 19.3% year on year (YoY) in 2020.
From 28 November 2021 to 1 January 2022, UK retail footfall declined by 18.6% compared to the same period two years earlier.
This figure is above the three-month average decline of 16.4%.
The UK reported better footfall than other major European countries, including France and Germany, which reported Yo2Y declines of 23.5% and 51.5% respectively in December.
Spain saw a 25.2% decline in footfall in December, while Italy reported a 37.0% decrease.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “Much of the progress made over the last four months was wiped out in December as surging Omicron cases and new work-from-home advice deterred many from shopping in-store, particularly in towns and city centres.
“As case numbers rose precipitously, many people chose to limit social mixing in the run-up to Christmas and shop less frequently.”
“Nevertheless, while UK footfall saw a moderate decline compared to previous months, it remained above levels of other major European economies, as the country avoided some of the more severe restrictions implemented elsewhere.
“December footfall capped a challenging year for brick-and-mortar stores, which saw footfall down one-third on pre-pandemic levels, though this was a significant improvement in 2020.
“With Christmas out the way, time will tell if shoppers return to their local high streets to embrace January sales and the arrival of spring collections.”
In November last year, the BRC reported that retail footfall in the UK had fallen by 13.7% in October on a Yo2Y basis.
This figure represented a 3.2% increase from September and was above the three-month average decrease of 16.0%.