Britons Set to Break Online Spending Records on Cyber Monday

Online retailers in the U.K. are anticipating their busiest day as shoppers flush with end-of-month paychecks seek Christmas deals on the Web.

A record number of daily online transactions will fuel spending of more than 500 million pounds ($818 million) today, according to an estimate from payment-systems provider Sage Pay. That would represent an increase of 10 percent on last year. Payment-card company Visa Europe predicts spending of 450 million pounds, based on a 16 percent jump in transactions.

The first Monday of December has become known as Cyber Monday as consumers who have just been paid log on to take advantage of Christmas discounts offered by online retailers from Inc. to Rakuten Inc.’s and store chains including Tesco Plc. Shoppers in the U.K. will make about 113 million visits to retail sites today from their computer, tablet or smartphone, according to research company Experian.

“For many retailers, Cyber Monday will be the biggest online trading day in the run-up to Christmas,” said Ian Geddes, U.K. head of retail at consultants Deloitte.

Tesco, the U.K.’s biggest retailer, said the number of visits to its Tesco Direct service this morning was 114 percent higher than on a normal Monday morning. Online visits over the weekend were up almost 80 percent, the grocer said on its website. Tesco’s online offers include an LG 32-inch television for 249 pounds, reduced from 299 pounds.

Ugg Boots

John Lewis Partnership Plc, the U.K. department-store chain which generates online sales exceeding 1 billion pounds a year, expects Apple Inc.’s iPad tablets, cashmere items and Ugg boots to top Cyber Monday shopping lists.

Today’s online shopping will be exceeded on Dec. 26, according to Experian, which estimates that U.K. Internet users will make 115 million visits to retail sites that day, up about 2 percent on last year. Britons will make about 150 million online purchases this month, spending about 10.5 billion pounds, it estimates.

The term Cyber Monday was coined around 2005 when online sales increased the first Monday after Thanksgiving as employees took advantage of faster Internet connections at the workplace.

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