About 4.8 million Britons will take a break from turkey dinners and family board games to spend 153 million pounds ($236 million) shopping for online bargains on Christmas Day, according to a trade organization estimate.
U.K. Internet spending on Dec. 25 will rise by about 16 percent from the 132 million pounds spent on the same day in 2009, Interactive Media in Retail Group said today in an e- mailed statement. Purchases made via the Web on Dec. 26 will exceed 300 million pounds for the first time, IMRG said.
After heavy snow this month kept Britons away from shopping streets and disrupted deliveries in the build-up to the holiday, consumers may have more cash than usual after Christmas. Spending may also be stoked by January's increase in value-added tax on sales to 20 percent from 17.5 percent, as consumers bring forward purchases to avoid the extra charge.
"With many people not being able to get out to the high- street sales due to the wide-ranging impact of the snow, online could see a real boost over the next few weeks," David Smith, managing director of IMRG, said in the statement. The VAT increase "is also expected to generate a surge of activity for big-ticket purchases," the London-based organization said.
Visa Europe, which handles more than one-quarter of U.K. online-shopping payments, forecasts that 960,000 transactions, worth 36 million pounds, will be processed on Dec. 25, according to IMRG.
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