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Cyber Monday Sees Sales Of £19m An Hour

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Brits are increasingly favouring online shopping in the run up to Christmas, as evidenced in the latest figures

British shoppers spent a staggering £19 million per hour, on so-called ‘Cyber Monday’ yesterday, the biggest online shopping day of the year.

Indeed, the past weekend has been the busiest weekend for Britain’s shops (both physical and online), with many people opting to hit the High Street this weekend to do their Christmas shopping.

However, Monday was when many of us turned to our PCs to do the Christmas shopping. It has been dubbed “Cyber Monday” because of the sheer number of people reaching for their mouse and opting for a little online retail therapy.

Online surge

The fact that we Brits are increasingly opting to conduct our Christmas shopping online (and indeed via smartphones), rather than battling the crowds and struggling to find car parking space, will no doubt worry High Street retailers.

The figures revealed that on Cyber Monday, shoppers spent a staggering £456 million in just 24 hours, a 14 percent rise from 2010. However some, such as payment processor Sage Pay, believe that online purchases actually rose by more than 17 percent on Monday 5 December, compared to the same time last year.

Sales reportedly peaked between 1pm and 2pm, when office staff took advantage of their lunch break to hit the online stores. According to The Daily Telegraph, the biggest selling items were Amazon’s new Kindle, Apple’s iPad 2 and iPod Touch, the Harry Potter DVD and Lego.

The newspaper also quoted Argos as labelling 5 December as “Mobile Monday”, because of the amount of online shopping now done by smartphones and iPads, with more than 200,000 items reserved online. It cited the Centre for Retail Research, which predicted that £1.64 billion of shopping will be done via mobile phone this Christmas.

Meanwhile online shopping behemoth Amazon apparently predicted that spending would hit peak volumes at 9pm, when people presumable can settle down in front of their PCs after the evening meal.

High Street worry?

The scale of the challenge that online shops now pose to the British High Street was highlighted by the price comparison site MoneySupermarket, which said that the British average shopper is expected to make 41 percent of their purchases online this year. Many High Street retailers are therefore resorting to early sales drives in order to attract customers into their shops, and help them shift stock in time for the New Year.

But the online shopping genie is well and truly loose nowadays and Brits are becoming increasingly comfortable with online shopping. According to KPMG International’s 5th Annual Consumers and Convergence Survey, many shoppers are turning to their PCs, smartphones and tablets to find gifts, check recommendations, compare prices, access online coupons, and ultimately pay for their purchases.

“Five years running, our global Consumers and Convergence Survey shows that the pace of change continues to accelerate,” said Sean Collins, Global Head, KPMG Communications and Media. “Consumers worldwide are increasingly willing to adopt new technologies and digital business models, and that spells big opportunities and risks for service providers, retailers, media companies, banks and the host of other players vying for a piece of the digital value chain.”

The survey warned that, globally, online purchases seem to be far outpacing those in retail outlets for certain goods and services. It found, for example, that 76 percent of consumers in the Americas were more likely to purchase CDs, DVDs, books and video games online rather than in a store. In Europe it is 55 percent and in Asia-Pacific it is 67 percent. Flights and holidays are more likely to purchased online by 61 percent of Europeans .

Last month, a report from Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) warned IT managers that more than half the time spent shopping would be done using either work computers or personal devices on corporate networks, which would pose significant risks to the network and sensitive data.