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Peak online pre-Christmas trading set for 12.58pm, December 6

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Are you set for the Christmas shopping take off? And are you even sure when it’s supposed to be?

According to figures released by Kelkoo last week the peak day for online shopping in the lead up to the festive season will be November 29 – dubbed Manic, or Cyber, Monday.

But analysis published from IMRG, the UK trade association for online retailers, and payment processing company Retail Decisions (ReD) suggests traders should be even more prepared for December 6 – when it believes sales will peak on the day it’s terming Mega Monday. It goes further: sales will be at their highest between 12 noon and 1pm, when people use their lunch breaks to get on with festive shopping to the tune of £23.2m.

And more precise still: the peak minute will be at 12.58pm when almost £1m will be spent, at a rate of 128 transactions per second.

The reading comes from IMRG’s tracking data from major UK retailers over the last 10 years, put together with real-time payment figures from retailers that are supported by ReD. ReD’s figures show sales on Mega Monday have been 11-12% higher than those on Cyber Monday over the past two years.

Carl Clump, chief executive of ReD, said: “ReD’s online retailers had their busiest day last year on December 7, with sales up 11% versus Monday November 30 2009. The same trend was replicated in 2008.

“The simple fact is that consumers seem to shop after they have been paid at the end of the month and therefore Monday December 6 will be the year’s busiest day for shopping online.”

It believes some £306m will be spent during the course of the day, with total online sales reaching £6.93bn in December, up by 27% compared to last year.

David Smith, managing director of IMRG, said: “The first Monday of December has traditionally been the busiest online shopping day. Indications from our index are that this will be the case again, with all the biggest online retailers agreeing from what they have seen of consumer behaviour.”

IMRG believes some £0.5bn will be spent online on Sunday December 5 and Monday December 6, and that total online spend for the Christmas period, over the course of November and December, will come to £12.4bn.

Online retailer is gearing up for a rush from about 9am on December 6, following the school run and again at about 9.30pm. It predicts it will be dealing with 1,200 orders a minute at its busiest times. It has reserved special offers specially for Mega Monday. Its chief operating officer Stuart Rowe said: “Mega Monday is set to be our biggest sales day ever. We have seen Mega Monday grow year-on-year and we expect 2010 to continue this trend.”

ReD also expects a post-Christmas boost from Boxing Day right up to the rise in VAT, scheduled to come into effect on January 4.

But retailers are also being warned to be viligant for potential fraud during the rush.

ReD’s Carl Clump said: “Cyber criminals are continually trying to find new ways of taking advantage of online retailers, especially during the busiest time of the year

when they attempt to hide under the radar. Unfortunately, the threat

from fraudsters is very real and the average attempted fraudulent

transaction that ReD prevents, is tracking at £206, 58 per cent more

than the genuine shoppers’ average of £130.”

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