Online Christmas Day Shopping Boom to Outstrip Boxing Day Sales

Almost a third of U.K. shoppers say they will look for bargains online on Christmas Day, getting a head start on Britain’s traditional Boxing Day retailing bonanza.

This year, 31 percent plan to hit the online sales on Dec. 25, exceeding the 27 percent who will visit stores on Dec. 26 to take advantage of discounts, according to a survey of 2,084 adults, credit card company Barclaycard said in a statement today.

Online spending by consumers on Christmas Day will build on last year’s growth, which rose almost 30 percent from the previous year, with clothing, department stores and home-improvement shops the strongest beneficiaries, Barclaycard said.

U.K. retailers are counting on promotions and discounts to entice shoppers -- still squeezed by inflation outstripping wage growth -- into their virtual and physical stores. So far, online spending has risen 9.1 percent this Christmas season compared with 1.2 percent growth in stores as consumers shift to the Internet, where they can more easily compare prices.

Marks & Spencer Group Plc, Britain’s largest clothing retailer, said yesterday that its website received more than 800 visits a minute on Christmas Day last year.

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