An estimated five million Britons will abandon the normal routine tomorrow and boot up their computer to snap up bargains tomorrow. Retailers such as John Lewis, Dixons, Comet and many others will start their online sales tonight, cutting prices by up to 70 per cent.
Marks & Spencer's online sale will start at midday, offering a range of half-price clothing, beauty products and homeware. British consumers are expected to spend £103.6m tomorrow, an average of £19.77 each – up about 20 per cent on last year's total of £84m.
The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), which released the figures, said that shoppers were increasingly turning on their computers on Christmas Day rather than waiting for the new year sales on the high street, which traditionally start on Boxing Day. Last year internet traffic was 44 per cent higher on Christmas Day than it was on Christmas Eve.
Brian McBride, the managing director of Amazon.co.uk, said: "25 December is an increasingly important day for online retail and we expect this year's to be very busy. Many people will visit Amazon.co.uk to redeem their gift vouchers or take advantage of our sale."
Comet, the electricals chain, expects to receive more than one million hits on Christmas Day. Last year, the number of bargain hunters going on to the Comet website surged between 3pm and 4pm, when the Queen's speech was on television, although traffic peaked at 9.22pm.