Christmas online sales hit £180m record day

The amount spent by online shoppers is expected to surge to £180million today as thousands of Britons log on to buy gifts in time for Christmas.

It is expected to be the year’s busiest day for online sales, with the festive cyber spree more than doubling the £82million daily average so far.

Commerce will peak between 1pm and 2pm when goods worth £14million will be bought, the Internet Media Retail Group predicts.

The surge will come three weeks before the ‘bricks and mortar’ deadline of December 23, when last minute shoppers will flock to the high streets.

James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, said: ‘The online shopping peak is pulled forward each Christmas by millions of people who rely on the Internet for their key shopping items and so shop early to have the best chance of goods being in stock.’

About a third of sales are expected after 6pm, outside normal shopping hours – a change in habits attributed to the spread of faster Internet connections.

Chris Russell, director said: ‘The evening Internet shopping peak is a recent phenomenon that has become possible with consumer’s acquisition of broadband at home.’

Among the popular buys this year are magazine and comic annuals.

A host of publishers are following the example of Prion books, whose Best of the Jackie annual became a surprise hit last year with 35,000 sold.

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