Record-breaking Christmas shopping spree expected
Retail experts are predicting today could be the biggest day in the history of online shopping, as UK Christmas gift hunters prepare for Cyber Monday.
Visa is predicting a total of 7.7 million credit card transactions will be made throughout the day. If so, that will be an increase of 16 per cent on 2012's figures.
Shoppers are reportedly set to part with around £450 million, at an average of £312,500 per minute.
It is expected that the evening will see the most traffic, with a peak time of between 6-9pm. Big name retailers are looking forward to a surge in sales, with John Lewis preparing for around 80,000 orders.
Meanwhile, Amazon is hoping to improve on last year's total of around 3.5 million orders, which averaged at 41 sales per second.
Electronics are set to figure highly among the top sellers, with John Lewis predicting strong iPad sales and various recently-released products such as Tesco's Hudl tablet and Nokia's new Lumia phablet hoping for a Christmas boost.
Black Friday sparks shopper stampedes
Cyber Monday follows hot on the heels of Black Friday, a US post-Thanksgiving shopping tradition that has now become a UK staple.
Traditionally falling on the last Friday in November, which for many is payday, stores invite hordes of shoppers to take advantage of a wide range of in store discounts.
The event has now become something of a festive phenomenon, although the rush can occasionally turn ugly. Stampedes are often reported, and over the weekend there were reports of a pregnant shopper being pushed over in Belfast as people rushed to pick up discounted television sets.
This year's Black Friday saw improved sales figures compared with 2012, prompting analysts to predict Cyber Monday will follow suit. After today, it is expected bargain hunters will wait until the last two days before Christmas for one last look around the high street to sweep up any remaining deals.
Kleon West, business development director at theEword, said: "It goes without saying that Christmas is a vital time for retailers, and the press coverage given to Black Friday and Cyber Monday certainly helps them. With so many online discounts to be found, it is no surprise that today is expected to bring record-breaking sales figures."