December 3, 2010, 12:56 PM

Holiday sales are just getting started

Predictions say the top day will be Dec. 13 or Dec. 14. In the U.K., it's Monday.

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U.S. online retail sales exceeded $1 billion for the first time this past Monday, but industry expectations are that the sales party is only getting started. ComScore Inc., which provided the estimate of Monday’s record total earlier this week, says it expects the heaviest online spending day of the 2010 holiday season in the U.S. will be Monday, Dec. 13, or Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Despite the fervor surrounding online sales and promotions occurring the Monday after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Cyber Monday, the day has never been the heaviest U.S. online spending day of the holiday season, comScore says. “This year, it seems likely we’ll reach the billion-dollar spending threshold at least a couple more times,” a comScore spokesman says.

Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail industry group, predicts Monday, Dec. 6, will be the busiest online shopping day of the holiday season. The group says it expects U.K. consumers to spend more than half a billion pounds—in excess of $785 million in U.S. dollars—in the Sunday to Monday period. The group also predicts December online spending in the U.K. to reach 6.4 billion pounds, or more than $10 billion U.S.

“We are expecting Monday, Dec. 6, to be the busiest day of 2010,” says Brian McBride, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, adding that the U.K. site received orders for two million items on the corresponding day last year.

The United Kingdom is the second-most common country for U.S. e-retailers to expand to after Canada, according to Forrester Research. U.S. e-retailers operating U.K. web sites include Best Buy, Blue Nile, Gap Inc. and Shoebuy.com.

FedEx Corp., the world’s largest shipper, anticipates its busiest day this holiday season will be Dec. 13. The company says it expects to process almost 16 million packages that day, the largest amount in company history.

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