A £0.5bn shopping binge was forecasted for Sunday December the 5th and Monday December 6th by the IMRG, UK trade association for online retailers with a total online spend for the whole of the Christmas period expected to be £12.4bn.
The festive shopping season kicked off with Amazon UK's "Black Friday" event which lasted throughout the whole of the last week of November created a massive rush towards a flurry of bargains. As "lightening deal" products were selling out in a matter of seconds, it was criticised by frustrated shoppers on its Black Friday
Forums and Twitter, the Advertising Standards Authority were ready to investigate complaints.
The hot bargains included the Nintendo Wii which was sold for £50, a massive 70% off the normal price and Take That's new album, Progress for just £1, a saving of 88.8% but these deals where gone in seconds leaving shoppers to wonder how many of these deal items are actually available in the first place.
Black Friday didn't quite catch on with other UK retailers this year, but with the publicity that Amazon's deals attracted, it is likely that other retailers will be watching trends closely, thinking ahead to next year.
Cyber Monday, however, which ran from Monday 28th November until the 6th December sparked some more excitement within the UK online community. More online retailers provided greater discounts high street shops offered up to 20% discount online during this period.
A record £831,000 was spent online in just one minute on Monday the 6th December at 1:15pm with 128 transactions per second, compared to £732,000 in the busiest minute on Monday 7th December 2009. Sales have been increasing steadily since 28th November, the US's Cyber Monday with yesterday being dubbed as Mega Monday in the UK with sales significantly higher than the previous Monday.
The first week of December is traditionally the busiest shopping week of the year, leading up to Christmas. People have received their November Salaries and are buying Christmas gifts with online deliveries arriving with plenty of time for Christmas. This year with the cold snap that we are currently experiencing, even more people are shopping online in the warmth of their living room rather than braving the freezing high street.
Selfridges stated its online sales soared 50% last week, while John Lewis said sales through its website increased by 62.2%. On Sunday eBays UK sales were up by 18% on the same day last year with 17 items being purchased every second, dubbed their "Super Sunday".
According to analysis by online fraud prevention company Retail Decisions, the most sought after gifts that are being snapped up by internet shoppers this year are the Mini Micro T-bar Scooter, the Nintendo Wii Fit Plus game, Lego’s Winter Toy Workshop and the Apple iPod Touch. The chart below shows the search volume for each of the most popular gifts. The iPod, Wii and Lego all have similar volume online, the Micro Scooter has considerably less, people may purchase this on the high street rather than online.
Robin Goad, Research Director at Hitwise UK, said: 'Last weekend was certainly the busiest of the pre-Christmas season so far this year, but the clue that we are not quite there yet is the comparison between traffic levels on Sunday (November 28th) and Monday (November 29th).
‘For most of the year, UK Internet visits to retailers peak on the Sunday and drop off on the Monday, and only on Mega Sunday / Monday do the traffic levels match. This didn’t happen this Sunday and Monday, implying that Mega Monday is still to come.’