Page last updated at 01:42 GMT, Monday, 8 December 2008

'Busiest day' for online shopping

Shopper in Oxford Street, London
Many shoppers may ditch the High Street for shopping online instead

The UK is set for its busiest internet shopping day of the year, with 320m forecast to be spent online.

The internet trade body IMRG says the UK's Christmas online retail sales could reach 13.6bn ($19.9bn).

It predicts the peak shopping hour will take place between 1300-1400 GMT when 28m may be spent online in an hour.

Martin Peterlechner, of Ivobank, said this highlighted the extent to which internet shopping had "become ingrained in our everyday lives".

Online retailer said it was expecting sales to soar as customers turned to the internet for bargains.

Monday will see sales soar by 25% compared to last year, the firm predicted.


Inside Amazon's distribution depot

More employees are also more likely to be doing their shopping while still at their desks.

I have done 99% of my shopping online this year - so much easier, more likely to have what you want, and no getting bashed by frantic shoppers
Char, Warwick, UK

Forecasts suggest about 5.2 million people will be doing online Christmas shopping at work this year.

The research, by polling organisation GfK NOP, said one in 10 online shoppers were also planning to have their online Christmas shopping delivered to work.

Mr Peterlechner, head of commercial development at Ivobank, said this showed many companies were becoming more accommodating to employees' needs.

"The results suggest most employers would rather their staff make a couple of quick purchases online at work than take an extended lunch break to shop at the local high street,'' he said.

Some 29 million people are expected to use the internet to buy Christmas presents this year.

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