Around 8.2 million shoppers are expected to hit the high street on Boxing Day, despite extensive new Covid-19 restrictions forcing non-essential retailers to close.
However, total Boxing Day spending is expected to fall by more than a quarter compared with a year ago, according to research by the Centre for Retail Research for VoucherCodes.co.uk.
Boxing Day sales are expected to be £3.2 billion – down 27% compared with last year – researchers said.
Sales in physical stores are expected to reach £1.4 billion, research found, down 56% on the same day last year.
Online sales will jump around 56% to £1.8 billion as shoppers stay home, the report added.
Before the Government announcement on Wednesday, experts had predicted sales through the week of December 26 and 31 would be £12.7 billion.
But with several parts of England plunged into Tier 4, which bans non-essential retailers from opening, just £10.1 billion will be spent during the post-Christmas week, the report said.
London and the South East 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 £779 million on Boxing Day in these areas before entering Tier 4.
This is now forecast to drop 76% to just £187 million, the report added.
Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “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 Tier 4 areas in England is severe.”