December 24, 2009, 12:00 AM

For some U.K. online retailers, holiday sales peak after Christmas

Christmas is likely to be one of the U.K.’s busiest online shopping days of the year. 4.3 million British shoppers are expected to spend £120 million ($191 million) on Dec. 25.

In the U.S., e-retailers have their peak holiday shopping days before Christmas. But in the U.K. sales launched on Christmas make Dec. 25 and the days that follow as busy, if not busier, than the days before Christmas for many online retailers, according to Interactive Media in Retail Group, a U.K.-based e-commerce trade group.

Christmas is expected to be one of the U.K.’s busiest online shopping days of the year as IMRG predicts 4.3 million British shoppers will spend £120 million ($191 million) on Dec.25. That’s nearly 18% more than the £102 million ($163 million) U.K. shoppers spent online on Christmas a year ago.

Overall, IMRG anticipates online retail sales in December will grow about 14% over December sales a year ago. Last year, Christmas traffic to retail sites grew 39% from Christmas Eve to Christmas. Traffic increased another 22% on Dec. 26, which is the U.K.’s Boxing Day holiday, as retailers initiated sales on Christmas. That helped make Dec. 26 the busiest day for U.K. online retailers. The trade group anticipates Boxing Day to again be the U.K.’s busiest online shopping day of the year.

Amazon.co.uk, the U.K. site of Amazon.com Inc., saw a 150% increase in sales last year on Christmas compared to 2007. “We saw high volumes of gift certificates being redeemed on Christmas, as well as a substantial number of MP3 tracks being purchased with people presumably logging on to get content for the MP3 player that they had received as a gift earlier that day,” says Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon.co.uk. “This year we are expecting another busy Christmas Day with people visiting to check out the great offers available.”

U.K. online retailer Perfect Handbags will launch its Christmas sale at midnight tonight. Last year, that strategy helped the company’s sales for the weeks following Christmas exceed the two weeks leading up to the holiday.

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