Today is expected to be the busiest day of the year for online shopping, with experts expecting a whopping £450m to be spent in the UK – that is £5,208 per second.
So-called Mega Monday, or Cyber Monday, follows the huge US tradition of Black Friday, which last week prompted the country's retail sales on Thursday and Friday to rise 2.3 per cent annually to $12.3bn, according to analyst ShopperTrak.
Today in the UK, Visa Europe expects some 7.7 million online transactions to take place, making today the busiest online shopping day ever.
The huge expected rise in spending today will be driven by a flurry of retail giants and tech firms slashing their prices in one-day only deals, similar to what happens on Black Friday.
Dixons-owned Currys PC World pinpointed tablets as this Christmas' bestsellers and marked Black Friday and today's Mega Monday sales by offering consumers £50 cashback on all Android tablets, iPads and Chromebooks. It said it expects the new iPad Air and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to be the season's star sellers, estimating that the combined weight of the tablets it will hawk over the festive period will match the weight of 250,000 Christmas puddings.
Reseller giant Insight is also getting in on the Mega Monday action, offering deals on HP, Lenovo, Apple and Samsung tech. The firm will offer free next-day delivery on orders over £150 in the UK too.
The popularity of spending from mobile devices, or m-commerce, still divides analysts and retailers.
Mark Lewis, online director for John Lewis, said his company has found consumers are more at ease with buying things via mobile devices. Online retail analyst IMRG agreed and said the increase in mobile sales has been so strong that it had to up its Retail Sales Index performance figures.
It said the number of mobile transactions has gone from 0.4 per cent of all online sales in 2010, to 27 per cent in this year's third quarter alone.
But analyst Ovum was less optimistic and said that users still prefer using a PC when buying online. Its Consumer Insights Survey, which surveyed 15,000 consumers across 15 global markets, found that 68 per cent of respondents preferred buying online via a PC, with only 20 per cent and 14 per cent using their smartphones and tablets respectively.
"There is no doubt that eventually we'll see mobile devices used for the majority of our online services, but in the m-commerce sector there is still some way to go," said Ovum's principal analyst Angel Dobardziev.
"To succeed, service providers will need to carefully understand and effectively address the subtle differences that concerned consumers have with using mobile money and mobile commerce services."
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