Julian Harris
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ONLINE sales of £3,000 per second will be made on Visa cards today, totalling £265m, according to the company.

Visa has coined today Mega Monday, as internet shoppers click through their Christmas shopping lists.

Many will have received their November pay packages and be looking for cheap deals online.

Sales are expected to peak at lunchtime and in the early evening as workers return home.

Visa cards account for £1 in every £4 spent in the UK, reflecting an overall increase in internet sales. Research by Deloitte suggests 23 per cent of December purchases will be made online, totalling £8bn.

And government data for October showed an increase in “non-store” sales (mostly internet or mail-order purchases) of 12 per cent on the previous year. Visa expects today’s online sales to be 5.5 per cent up on the equivalent Monday last year.

Internet sales are far from their peak, according to Ian Geddes, UK Head of Retail at Deloitte. “Online sales could account for close to 20 per cent of total retail spend by the end of the next decade,” he said.

UK consumers are keener on internet shopping than their counterparts in mainland Europe, the research showed. A recent survey showed over half (54 per cent) of British respondents willing to buy Christmas gifts online, compared to only a third (33 per cent) elsewhere in Europe.

A phenomenon sparked by the growth in online sales is Christmas Day shopping, which has become one of the busiest days of the year as people seek out early bargains.

“People can now sit on the sofa enjoying Christmas with the family whilst surfing the sales on their iPad. We expect Christmas Day spending to continue to increase,” said Geddes.