THE battle for bargains is set to move online as retailers brace themselves for the busiest internet shopping day of the year.
At least £556 million is expected to be spent online today, experts have claimed, as shoppers turn their attention to grabbing festive bargains from internet outlets.
“Cyber Monday” comes as retailers are recovering from an eventful Black Friday when shoppers became embroiled in tussles over cut-price flat-screen TVs and other electrical goods.
Discounts and bargains are expected to save consumers £98m online today, when six million shoppers are set to spend an average of £100 each – around 11 per cent higher than last year, according to research from pre-paid card provider Pockit and the Centre for Retail Research.
The trend for the shopping weekend, which spans Black Friday to Cyber Monday, has come from the US, where consumers start their Christmas shopping in earnest during the holiday weekend after Thanksgiving, which was celebrated last Thursday.
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Retailers heralded Friday as the biggest ever Christmas shopping day. Figures released by Visa Europe said that a total of £1.6 billion was spent in the 24-hour period – 20 per cent more than last year – with £600m spent online.
Retailer Amazon said Black Friday was its biggest sales day on record, when its website recorded orders for more than 5.5 million goods, generating around 64 sales per second.
The Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow, where police were called after crowds gathered to bag bargains at the Tesco Extra store, said it had seen a 22 per cent increase in the number of shoppers during the day.
Virraj Jatania, chief executive and founder of Pockit, said: “The first weekend in December is a great time to pick up bargains online.
“Whilst we assume in 2014 that this is an option for all consumers, it really isn’t.
“Whilst every consumer should be able to access the most competitive deals, the two million unbanked consumers in the UK are probably some of the people who really need to make savings on their Christmas shopping. Sadly, many of them will not have the option.”
A global campaign has been launched in reaction to the shopping weekend – “Giving Tuesday”, which is being run in the UK by the Charities Aid Foundation, encourages people and organisations to donate to charity.
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