10,000 spent every second! Christmas bargain hunters are expected to splash out 465million today – biggest online shopping spree in history
Shoppers could spend nearly half a billion pounds throughout the day78 transactions will be made every secondOnline shopping this month could top 5bn



22:56 GMT, 2 December 2012

Christmas shoppers will spend an astonishing 10,000 a second online today.

On the day dubbed ‘Mega Monday’, they will make 115million visits to web stores – up by more than a third on last year – and spend as much as 465million.

The figures will make today the busiest web shopping day of all time.

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is expected to be a big seller tomorrow, as is the Furby toy

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is expected to be a big seller tomorrow, as is the Furby toy

Hot presents: Amazon's Kindle Fire HD is expected to be a big seller tomorrow, as is the Furby toy

Experts expect gift hunters to hit the internet in their millions between 9am and 9pm as the Christmas rush bursts into life.

They believe the total value of online shopping in December will top 5billion.

Hourly spending is expected to exceed
last year’s, with purchases hitting their busiest patch during the lunch
hour and at 9pm when the day’s chores are done.

Credit card firm Visa said it expected
its customers would make 6.8million transactions today, up 21 per cent
on the equivalent day last year.

Tablet computers, such as the iPad Mini and Kindle Fire HD, are among the most searched-for items by web shoppers.

Mega Monday

Mega Monday

Classic presents such as Barbie and
Scalextric remain strong, while Lego is the most searched for toy so far
of 2012, especially Lego Star Wars.

Analysts at consumer information giant
Experian suggest the number of visits to virtual stores will be up by
36 per cent on last year. Experts also expect the figures to include a
ten-fold increase in mobile shopping – on iPhones and other devices –

At the same time, internet gift purchases are predicted to rise some 15
per cent to a new high, despite the pressure of the cost of living

As a result, Royal Mail and other courier companies will be delivering
around four million purchases a day between now and Christmas Eve.

The rise of the web will be at the expense of the high street as
traditional bricks and mortar outlets continue to struggle to attract
customers. All the major online specialists, such as Amazon, eBay,
Play.com and Pixmania, will be running sale events to tempt shoppers.

Amazon sold more than 3million items and took 35 orders per second on the same Monday last year.

Mega Monday

Mega Monday

However, it will also be a big day for names such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and all the big supermarkets, which are seeing online sales as their fastest growing sectors.

M&S has recruited an additional 800 employees at its 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.

‘Christmas can be a hectic time for our customers so we’ve brought in extra support in our warehouses, customer services and in stores.’

Asda Direct expects to sell 50 per cent more products today than an average Monday and predicts CD sales will increase by 70 per cent.

Mega Monday

Mega Monday

Some firms have, however, already seen a
startling rise in sales. John Lewis this weekend reported a record week
for its online sales, soaring to 37.9million.

James Murray, digital insight manager at Experian, said Christmas 2012
was on track to be another ‘record-breaker for online retail,
out-stripping 2011 on all fronts’.

He added: ‘The current market trends suggest that in the UK, Monday
December 3 will be the biggest pre-Christmas day for online retail, with
an estimated 115million visits to online retail outlets and a massive
15million hours spent online shopping on this day alone.’

Experian also expects the next two Mondays to post significantly higher sales than the equivalent dates last year.

British consumers will spend 375million hours shopping online in
December, 32million more hours than last year, Experian says.Last year
was a record-breaking year in terms of online retail. Shoppers made
2.18billion visits to retail websites and spent 343million hours
shopping online.

Mega Monday

Mega Monday

And on the same Monday last year
84.6million visits were made to online sites, with Amazon and eBay
responsible for 28 per cent of all retail visits.

Britain’s leading parcel and carrier manager Global Freight Solutions
estimates that December will see four million items being delivered to
homes and businesses every day.

And ahead of the spending splurge the Royal Mail has opened eight
dedicated sorting centres to deal with the ‘significant’ increase in
volume of parcels.

The official customer body, Consumer Focus, has warned shoppers who want
to make sure items arrive on time to order early to avoid any
disruption that may come with bad weather.

Research by Which found that 80 per cent of adults bought at least one
Christmas present online last year, however one in 12 of their gifts
failed to arrive on time.