£153m 'online Christmas Day spend'
Shoppers could spend more than £150 million online on Christmas Day for the first time this year, analysts have predicted.
An estimated 4.8 million people are expected to spend around £153 million on the day, according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).
And Boxing Day spending could top £300 million for the first time, it said.
The figures are backed by payments company Visa Europe, which estimates that 960,000 transactions worth £36 million will be made on Visa cards alone on Christmas Day, with Visa transactions accounting for more than £1 in every £4 spent.
IMRG managing director David Smith said: "Christmas Day has become a busy online shopping day in recent years, as people with an eye for value look to take advantage of the 24/7 nature of online retail.
"With many people not being able to get out to the high street sales due to the wide-ranging impact of the snow, online could see a real boost over the next few weeks."
Steve Perry, commercial director at Visa Europe, said: "The lure of early Christmas sales this year will see record numbers of people heading online on Christmas Day to snap up bargains, and we expect online purchases to make up half of all the Visa card transactions we will process on that day.
"The number of e-commerce transactions is growing by about 25% every year and there's no denying the appeal of internet shopping for consumers, who are feeling increasingly confident, safe and web-savvy as they hunt for bargains online."
December 23 was expected to be the busiest ever shopping day in the UK as consumers scrambled to make last-minute Christmas purchases, Visa Europe said.
In both 2008 and 2009, December 23 was the busiest shopping day of the year. The group expects to process around 26.5 million transactions worth more than £1.2 billion.