What is Cyber Monday? UK's busiest online shopping day

Consumers set to spend £450m, says Visa, as the UK follows America's online shopping craze

LAST UPDATED AT 10:51 ON Mon 2 Dec 2013

THE UK is expected to experience its busiest online shopping day in history today. Dubbed 'Cyber Monday', online retailers are offering day-long discounts in the lead up to Christmas...

What exactly is Cyber Monday?

It is essentially the online equivalent of Black Friday but with less risk of serious injury. It falls on the first Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States. Instead of battling with rival shoppers to grab the latest bargains in the shops, consumers head to the internet to spend billions of pounds or dollars on limited-time deals.

Why is it held today?

The first Monday of December has historically been the busiest online shopping day of the year, according to data analysis by credit card firm Visa. But the day has been cemented in the retailing calendar through clever marketing and big discounts by online stores. The name 'Cyber Monday' is believed to have been coined in 2005 in America and is growing each year in terms of recognition. The UK has embraced the tradition in the last few years, although it is sometimes called Mega Monday on this side of the pond. Bryan Roberts, a retail analyst at Kantar Retail, tells the BBC the hype and huge number of projections surrounding the day means it is a "self-fulfilling prophecy" as consumers are reminded to go online and do their Christmas shopping.

How much is expected to be spent today?

Visa expects £450m to be spent in the UK, with 7.7 million online transactions. That would be 16 per cent more than last year, with £312,500 expected to be spent online every minute, says Retail Week. John Lewis expects 80,000 orders, with iPads, cashmere and Ugg boots the most popular items. Last year on Cyber Monday, Amazon sold 41 items per second, with over 3.5 million items ordered in total. The online retailer expects today to be even busier.

What deals are on offer?

Dozens of websites are offering special discounts, including Amazon, Phones4U and Argos. Tesco is offering 25 per cent off its clothing and the latest 16GB Apple iPod Nano for £99. Dorothy Perkins is discounting everything online and in store by 30 per cent, while Asda is offering a range of 55 Cyber Monday discounts, including 15 per cent off cameras. Phones4U is offering a free Sony Smartwatch 2 to customers who buy a Sony Xperia Z1 and Argos is offering £100 off selected watches, one third off Nikon cameras and up to £230 off Bush TVs. For those who cannot log on today, some retailers are taking the shopping phenomenon a step further and offering 'Cyber Week' deals. · 

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