The presents may still be under the tree, but retailers are already launching their end-of-year sales..
Currys PC World started its sale online at noon on Christmas Eve, and will be followed by Amazon at 4pm, then John Lewis at 5pm, giving internet shoppers a head-start before the department store opens its doors to bargain-hunters on 27 December.
The early arrival of the sales comes after some retailers have already spent weeks slashing prices as they try to tempt consumers put off by one of the warmest Decembers in more than 50 years. While many will be looking for early discounts, some shoppers will still be organising very last-minute gifts, with sales of printable gift cards expected to peak on Amazon at 10pm tonight.
Spending will continue into Christmas Day when people are expected to splash out £728m online: 11% more than last year, according to analysts at Experian and IMRG, the internet retail association. This would make it the fifth biggest internet shopping day of the year behind Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Boxing Day and Manic Monday.
Amazon said it was expecting its busiest Christmas Day yet, as sales on the 25 December have grown more than sixfold in the past five years. It expects orders to peak at 8.52pm when people settle down with their newly opened mobile devices to pick up a bargain or download digital books, films and music.
The company is expecting to set new records in daily download sales, after Christmas Day last year was the busiest day of 2014 for digital sales as shoppers downloaded Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. “Digital streaming and downloads are extremely popular on Christmas Day because of the number of new devices that are given as gifts,” said Jay Marine, vice-president of Amazon Video in the EU.
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