Happy Christmas for retailers as they brace for busiest online shopping day ever

Shoppers expected to spend £222,222 every minute on gifts during Cyber Monday

Retailers are bracing themselves for a pre-Christmas online onslaught tomorrow evening which analysts predict will make Monday the busiest ever internet shopping day in the UK.

The first Monday in December has become known in the retail trade as Cyber Monday because of an annual spike in online sales, attributed to consumers receiving the last pay cheque before Christmas and spending the weekend browsing.

It has become the busiest online sales day of the year with millions logging on when they return home from work, with orders peaking between 8pm and 9pm. This year it is expected to break all records with £222,222 spent a minute, mainly on hi-tech goods such as iPads and headphones.

Amazon is expecting the busiest day in its history in the UK and has taken on an extra 10,000 seasonal staff to cope. It expects orders will peak at 9.20pm.

“Monday 3 December could be the busiest day in the history of Amazon.co.uk,” said  managing director Christopher North. “As people increasingly shop on mobile devices and benefit from fast broadband at home, we’re seeing a move towards customers buying their Christmas gifts later in the evening when they are at home relaxing.” Retailers are planning discounts and offers to coincide with the sales spike. Amazon has also chosen today to launch its new online fashion store in a bid to take on the likes of Net-a-Porter and ASOS.

Overall it is estimated that £320m will be spent today with consumers making 115 million website visits – an increase of 36 per cent on last year – according to online analysts Experian. Visa said it will handle 6.8 million card transactions, an increase of 21 per cent on last year, or 4,722 transactions every minute.

Marks & Spencer and John Lewis also said they were preparing for their busiest online day ever, part of the shift from high street to online retail.

John Lewis says its online sales have increased dramatically over the past year, with a third of customers using mobile phones or tablet computers to place their orders. “JohnLewis.com is growing at a rate of 40 per cent this year, and now accounts for about a quarter of our trade,” said buying and brand director Peter Ruis.

M&S online saw its orders triple on Cyber Monday last year compared with average days. This year it has recruited an additional 800 employees at its UK distribution centres and doubled the number of employees working in its e-commerce call centre.

David Walmsley, multi-channel development director at M&S, said: “For months, we’ve been planning behind the scenes to make sure we’re fully prepared to manage the huge uplift in orders we’re expecting.”

Shoppers will turn to the internet in increasing numbers throughout this month, research from the Royal Mail suggests. It said 43 per cent of people surveyed are planning to do more Christmas shopping online than last year and 60 per are planning to spend longer choosing their gifts online.

Royal Mail has opened eight dedicated parcel sorting centres for the Christmas period.

But all is not lost for the high street. Many people will still leave their Christmas shopping until the last minute. The weekend of December 22 and 23 expected to draw peak numbers of shoppers this year.

Ten to buy: This year’s hottest presents

Furbies

The must-have Christmas toy of 1998 is back with a reboot giving it an “intelligent” personality. £70-£130

Sonos Wireless speakers

Allows you to play those MP3s wirelessly on speakers dotted throughout the house.

Kurio Tablet

The tablet computer for children is top of many lists to Santa.

Heston Christmas pudding

The Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding is one of Waitrose’s top sellers. When it sells out the puds change hands for £150.

Razor E100 Scooter

Rechargeable scooter with a top speed of 10mph is one of the hits of the year.

Atari Arcade joystick

Old school gaming experience for the iPad.

Ipad mini

Apple’s scaleddown version of its hugely popular iPad is a must for the company’s fans

Lego/Monopoly/Subbuteo

Technology maybe leading the charge but retro games are making a comeback, according to toy retailers. £10-£30

Beats headphones

Rapper Dr Dre’s stylish ear gear has become the must-have on the street.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones