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Online shopping set to be Christmas Day activity of choice

24 December 2010 - 13:53 by Graham Miller

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British consumers never rest, even on Christmas Day, as figures suggest that hundreds of millions of pounds will be spend on December 25th, washed down with a glass or two of brandy and a mince pie.

On Christmas Day itself, sites offering safe shopping online will take around £153 million from five million individual sales. Boxing Day will be even busier, with £300 million going through online checkouts, as people make 9.3 million purchases.

As such, on the two days when people are supposed to relax and chill out with their family and friends, the total spent on safe shopping online will be £453 million.

The main explanation for this boom is that many families are now giving loved ones online tokens which can be spent on various services, including iTunes, to buy downloadable content. In 2009, the Apple service saw an 800 per cent jump in business, compared to the previous year and a similar increase is expected again.

Amazon is also going to take a chunk of the downloadable market, as its Kindle eBook Reader and digital download service will also be used by people who have received the Kindle as a gift and want to try out its features.

Christmas 2010 is unique because the VAT rise which is inbound from the 4th of January is being seen as a deadline by many consumers, so big spending on items while it rests at its current level is likely.

Those who do not shop online will face a tough time on the high street this coming weekend, with one supermarket pinpointing 5.15pm as the peak period for traffic at the tills, according to the Daily Mail. Easing in the wintry weather which has kept many indoors is also expected to contribute.