LOG on at midnight to snap up a Christmas bargain. Retailers are using “Mega Monday” tomorrow to test drive their most generous range of discounts and Scottish shoppers are expected to splash £46,000 a minute online in what is forecast to be the biggest day in internet shopping history.
Almost half a million Scots will spend an average of £97 each in a monster £45 million spree – almost three-and-a-half times the usual daily total of £13m – up £5m on last year’s previous record of £40m, the Centre for Retail Research said.
Experts say the first Monday in December is Scotland’s biggest internet spending day of the year, triggered by the late November pay-day, the realisation Christmas is getting closer and shoppers rushing online after a weekend browsing high streets.
Early Mega Monday online sales – with discounts up to 80 per cent – will be launched by retailers including Amazon, Argos and Zavvi.com.
Amazon will cut hundreds of prices on jewellery and fragrances by up to 70 per cent, with up to 50 per cent off laptops and women’s dresses and up to 40 per cent off toys and car accessories. Argos will slash up to 50 per cent off 1,500 toys, and Zavvi.com will cut prices on 1,200 entertainment, clothes and gift products by up to 80 per cent.
Tablet computers are predicted as the adult must-haves this year, while children are hoping for Furbys, Poppy The Cat and MicroScooters. The biggest seller in the comfort stakes is expected to be foot duvets for snuggling in front of the fire.
Consumer experts said retailers would be offering huge discounts to counteract the squeeze in consumer spending on the high street. Analysts Experian predict online retailers can expect 115 million visitors to their sites tomorrow – a 36 per cent increase from last year when there were 84.6 million visits.
During the first two weeks of December, consumers are forecast to spend £4.6 billion online, up from £3.7bn in the same period last year.
Dr Steve Perry, commercial director at Visa Europe said: “On Mega Monday, people across the UK will go online and use their cards to make 6.8 million transactions, the most in a single day in UK history.”
With competition for online shoppers greater than ever, many retailers are expected to offer more bargains than ever before. Perry said: “Data indicates that consumer spend in the UK is flat, meaning that retailers online and on the high street are going to have to work hard to extract the same level of spend as last year. Hard-pressed consumers are evidently looking for ways to make their money go further this Christmas. This is why we expect a record number of shoppers to seek out bargains and offers online.”
Duncan Jennings, co-founder of VoucherCodes.co.uk, said the site was expecting to see a 30-50 per cent increase in traffic tomorrow.
He said: “Retailers have known for some time that the first Monday of December is an enormously popular day for online shopping and tend to tailor their calendar of pre-Christmas deals and sales accordingly.
“We’re seeing a 30 per cent increase in the number of discounts issued by retailers compared to 2011 and expect this figure to rise even higher as we approach the busiest shopping period.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said retailers were increasingly dependent on successful online operations, with the value of the online marketplace growing by about 10 per cent each year. “While online giants like Amazon continue to dominate cyber space, UK retailers have also invested heavily this year in their online operations. Tomorrow will be the acid test revealing if they have the right products at the right price.”
He said tablet computers were becoming one of the favourite ways to browse, check prices and shop online – with online shopping transactions via tablet up 288 per cent on last year. “The way things are going, tablets are likely to overtake desk computers as the most popular way to shop online.”
Sales from mobile devices, including phones and tablets now account for 23 per cent of online shopping – with sales from desk top computers actually falling.
As retailers prepared for their busiest online shopping day, there were warnings to consumers to be careful about online security.
Stephen Proffitt, head of Action Fraud, said: “In the last 12 months Action Fraud has seen a 37 per cent increase in reports of online shopping and auction fraud. Even experienced computer users should think about their safety and security online.”
Margaret Lynch, the chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, said: “We see many clients every year who have been scammed by an online company. And sadly, because of the faceless nature of the transactions, there is often very little that can be done. So it’s vital that people are on their guard and don’t get into scams in the first place. It’s also extremely important that people report scams when they come across them.”
Top ten predicted top sellers
The iPad mini is a compact version of the ubiquitous iPad – it has a touch screen, fast and fluid performance, FaceTime HD and iSight cameras, and up to 10 hours of battery life.
Kurio 7” Tablet £150
10” Tablet £200
The Kurio is popular Android tablet targeted at families and children with a wealth of on-board apps.
Sonos is the all-in-one player with big sound in a compact size which will wirelessly play music in every room in your house.
Beats Solo HD headphones promise to create a big sound in a smaller, lighter on-ear design for today’s digital music.
Lego Creator Campervan
An ingenious brick replica recreates the classic 1962 Volkswagen T1 Camper Van.
The Gruffalo puppet appeals to fans of the popular children’s story by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Poppy the Cat
Large talking plush toy £24.95/talking soft toy £9.99/mini plush toy £6.95
Made from soft and cuddly fabrics, the Poppy Cat has become a popular bedtime favourite.
Micro scooter has been developed with the help of medical experts for a smooth and graceful ride, to give children the confidence to make rapid progress.
Furby is one of the biggest toy crazes from the 90s – but the new generation promises to be a big seller as well.
John Lewis Foot Duvets £15
These are an ingenious alternative to slippers, designed for lounging in luxury. Source: John Lewis