Online sales to hit £350k each second

 
Kasmira Jefford
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E-TILLS ARE RINGING FOR CYBER MONDAY

UK CONSUMERS are expected to kickstart the busiest online shopping day of the year today, with Christmas shoppers predicted to spend more than £350,000 each second on their Visa cards, the company said.

The day has been coined Cyber Monday in the US and Visa Europe expects 4.8m purchases worth £303m to be made using Visa cards.

The payment services firm said this reflects a 12 per cent rise compared with last year’s Cyber Monday, as consumers increasingly turn to the internet to take advantage of cheap deals online.

Visa said the Monday closest to December has historically been the busiest day for e-tailers, when many consumers have just received their November pay packages.

Traditionally, consumers spend the weekend browsing the shops before logging on to buy their gifts the following Monday. Sales are expected to peak at lunchtime and in the early evening as workers return home.

Research by Deloitte forecasts online retail sales to rise by 15 per cent in December compared with the same time last year, when heavy snowfall forced some major retailers to stop taking orders because delivery became impossible.

“Assuming no repetition, continued growth in click and collect and increasing access through mobile phones and tablets will help boost sales,” Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said.

This year total online retail sales, which accounts for 11 per cent of the total annual retail market, will exceed £30bn for the first time, the accountacncy firm said.

Richard Hyman, strategic retail adviser to Deloitte, said: “Christmas 2011 promises to be the most important moment in retail trading we have seen for many years.

Visa said it will process almost 7m online transactions today.