Belfast Telegraph

Cyber Monday: Online shopping expected to peak today, with sales reaching up to £650m

By Joanne Flemming

Online shoppers in the UK are expected to spend more than half-a-billion pounds in 24 hours for the first time today - more than £6,000 a second.

After the chaos of Black Friday - which saw stampedes in some stores where shoppers had queued overnight for the best deals - Cyber Monday will see millions online log instead.

Internet shopping figures consistently peak on the first Monday of December, thought to be a combination of the last payday before Christmas falling on the previous Friday and a weekend spent browsing shops before buying from home.

Around six million people are expected to log on to the internet today across the UK and spend up to £650m on the latest pre-Christmas deals, with retailers hoping the success of Black Friday will continue.

Some stores are already racking up record sales.

Amazon sold 5.5 million items on Friday at a rate of 64 purchases a second. It has employed 13,000 extra staff to deal with the seasonal rush.

It intends to release lightning deals every 10 minutes today and has already begun highlighting some of its best deals online.

A spokeswoman for Amazon said: "We are ready for whatever the day brings, with thousands of members of the Amazon team across the UK prepped and ready to pick, pack and deliver the millions of items that will be ordered."

Tesco, meanwhile, is remaining tight-lipped on its deals. It was meant to launch a whole host of Black Friday deals at midnight on Thursday, but a torrent of eager shoppers all visiting the site at once brought it to its knees, with some users unable to access the online store until later in the day

A Tesco spokesperson said: "We will be running a Cyber Monday event on the Tesco Direct website and customers will be able to find out more on Monday".

Cyber Monday is also part of a general weekend of discounts for retailers such as Debenhams, which has been offering 30% off.

Online site Game is also promising a range of deals to be announced today.

According to the payments service provider Sage Pay, website visits will hit 125 million in the UK. Since 2009, the total amount spent on Cyber Monday has increased by more than £250m.

The volume of transactions has also increased by an average of 11.25% over the past four years.

Background

While online shopping means not queuing for hours outside or fighting for the best bargains, there are other hazards. The sites of Tesco, PC World, Argos, Game, Boots and Curry's all crashed on Black Friday because of the high demand.

And always read the retailer's delivery and refund policy before you make a purchase as these can lead to additional charges.

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