Fewer shoppers hit the high street on Boxing Day than in previous years as online Sales and earlier discounts took more of the spend.

Footfall was down 4.7% on Boxing Day, compared with last year, according to the Retail Traffic Index, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance.

High streets fell 7.1% and retail parks were down 7.2%.

Figures from Experian Footfall – which reports on high streets and shopping centres – were also down. It reported a 2.5% fall on Boxing Day compared with the previous year.

The fall comes after the success of Black Friday, which meant shopper patterns were skewed. Retailers then offered various levels of discounts to pull in shoppers in December, then most went on full Sale online on Christmas Day.

IRP director of retail intelligence Tim Denison said: “Last year Christmas Day started sapping the pull of Boxing Day as retailers experimented with launching Sales online on the 25th, which proved amazingly popular. More have elected to adopt this tactic this year, so nobody expected record numbers in stores yesterday. In fact, the figures achieved yesterday were pleasantly robust.”

John Lewis, which started its online Sale on Christmas Eve, had a 16% increase in orders compared with last year in the first hour of its Clearance between 5pm and 6pm.

On Christmas Day, orders were up 19% year on year with 72% of traffic to the site coming from mobile and tablet devices.

Despite the footfall figures, some retailers still reported healthy Boxing Day sales. Selfridges said it had experienced its best ever start to a Boxing Day, taking £2m between 9am and 10am with shoppers starting to queue at 10.30pm on Christmas Day.

Saturday was expected to be busier than Boxing Day, according to Ipsos, and overall December is expected to be up 0.6% on last year.