Retailers are bracing themselves for the UK's biggest Christmas shopping day online today, with shoppers expected to spend £320 million.
Online spending is expected to rise 15% on last year to £13.16 billion in the run up to Christmas as hard-up shoppers search for bargains on the internet.
However, IMRG's prediction that last Monday would be the UK's largest ever online shopping day failed to materialize, as the anticipated VAT-driven spike failed to boost trade, leaving sales values and traffic volumes flat.
IMRG chief executive James Roper said: "It was widely assumed that [the] fall in VAT, from 17.5% to 15%, would create a considerable shopping surge, due pent up demand caused by shoppers waiting for the lower rate. But it just didn't happen. Many of the smart e-retailers had already passed on the lower rate as soon as it was announced."
Peak shopping time today will be between 1pm and 2pm when shoppers are expected to spend £28m. This is double the amount spent by shoppers at last year's peak Christmas shopping hour, at midday on Monday December 11.
Roper added: "Retailers and suppliers will be under extreme pressure to price competitively this year, so there will be a lot of volatility out there - and fantastic bargains - that the internet uniquely enables canny shoppers to find and grab before anyone else gets the chance."
John Lewis reported a record week of online sales last week.