Cyber Monday: 'Busiest online shopping day' expected

A crowded Oxford Street
Image caption Online shopping may be on the increase, but London's Oxford Street was bustling with buyers over the weekend

Festive spending is expected to be boosted on Monday, in what could be the busiest online shopping day in history.

Dubbed Cyber Monday, retailers hope consumers will take advantage of a flurry of sales and discounts.

Card payment firm Visa expects £450m to be spent, with 7.7 million online transactions, up 16% on 2012, making 2 December the busiest day of the year for e-commerce.

John Lewis expects 80,000 orders, while Amazon hopes for over 3.5 million.

It comes just after Black Friday, when many UK shops followed the US tradition of big discounting on the Friday after the US Thanksgiving public holiday.

Visa and John Lewis said they anticipate the evening will prove busiest for internet sales, with the hours between 20:00 and 21:00 GMT on both Sunday and Monday peak times for shopping traffic.

'Love affair'

Amazon said it expects sales to soar at around 18:00 on Monday.

Currys and PC World, the UK's largest electrical retailers, said this weekend will be the biggest trading period of the year.

Image caption The evening is most popular with online shoppers, John Lewis, and Visa said

Visa said that data analysis shows that the busiest online shopping day historically falls on the Monday closest to the beginning of December.

During Monday, Visa expects £312,500 to be spent per minute, or £5,208 per second, on its cards online.

"UK consumers' love affair with online shopping will reach its peak on Mega Monday," said Jeremy Nicholds, director of commercial development at Visa Europe.

"Online shopping now accounts for more than 25% of spend with Visa in the UK, signifying the confidence that consumers have in the security of online payments and in the delivery of goods."

John Lewis predicts that iPads, cashmere and Ugg boots will be the most wanted items.

It said that it has seen mobile orders more than double on a year ago and 42% of online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablet computers.

Image caption On Cyber Monday in 2012, Amazon sold over 3.5 million items, with goods dispatched from warehouses like this one

"Our customers' shopping habits have changed over the past few years, and our peak time for browsing and shopping on is now Sunday evening," said Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis.

"With shoppers becoming more comfortable when purchasing via mobiles and tablets, coupled with better connectivity and the rise of smartphones so people can browse online through the day, it's not surprising the way we shop has changed."

'Chicken and egg'

Bryan Roberts, a retail analyst at Kantar Retail said that the amount of "hype" around these promotional days mean they can become big, well-known events very quickly, and that Cyber Monday is growing each year in terms of recognition, with a lot of "clever marketing" from the retailers.

"The huge number of projections of record sales and transactions surrounding Cyber Monday and Black Friday does mean they are a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy as consumers are reminded to go online and do their Christmas shopping."

"It is a bit of a chicken and egg situation" he said.

Mr Roberts said that online retailing is still a growth industry, especially as certain consumers look to "avoid crowded high streets."

Last year on Cyber Monday, Amazon sold 41 items per second, with over 3.5 million items ordered.

It expects 2nd December 2013 to be even busier. Xavier Garambois, vice president of EU retail at Amazon, said that Cyber Monday has "continued to grow every year."

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