Online sales hit £388m on Christmas Day and Boxing Day

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Online consumers spent £123m on Christmas Day, according to estimates provided to Retail Times by Retail Decisions (ReD), a company specialising in card fraud prevention and payment processing. On Boxing Day online sales climbed further, soaring to an estimated total of £265m.

The tradition of sales beginning on Boxing Day may still be clinging on in parts of the high street, but online bargains are now being offered before the festive dinner is even cooked, says ReD. Retailers such as John Lewis enticed an early spending frenzy this year by luring consumers with exclusive online sales starting on Christmas Eve. ReD’s figures show Christmas Day shopping peaked before Britain tucked into turkey, with 12.58am tipped as the busiest online shopping minute.

The growing appeal of 24/7 armchair shopping has been reflected in the number of consumers who decided to click – not queue – this Christmas, says ReD. It reports combined online sales in November and December 2010 exceeded the same period last year by £2.5bn.

Carl Clump, ReD CEO, said: “This represents a 23% rise in online retail sales and demonstrates how essential the internet is to our daily lives. This year’s particularly bad weather dissuaded many from braving the high street crush and saw online gift buying increase. When the snow led to cancelled deliveries the internet again provided a solution, with big brands allowing customers to purchase online but pick-up in-store by offering click and collect services.”

Unfortunately, as cash registers ring at the busiest time of the year, crooks get more inventive, reports ReD. Trends spotted by ReD’s fraud prevention systems reveal fraudsters are constantly trying to find new ways to take advantage of online retailers, with an estimated £67m of attempted fraud expected by the end of December. According to transactions seen by ReD, the average attempted fraudulent transaction is now tracking at £206, 58% more than the genuine shopper’s average of £130.

The new Apple iPod Touch topped the online shopping charts this Christmas, with the Mini Micro T-bar Scooter, the Wii Fit Plus and character options for Zhu Zhu Pets following closely behind (see list of top 10 most popular products below). Meanwhile, the fraudsters’ targets tend to be high-value, personal electrical items. The top three most fraud prone products are currently the Apple iPad, Canon EOS D Digital SLR Camera and the new Apple iPod Touch.

What’s hot online

1. New Apple iPod Touch

2. Mini Micro TBAR Scooter

3. Wii Fit Plus And Balance Board

4. Character Options Zhu Zhu Pets

5. Apple iPad Wifi

6. Lego Winter Toy Workshop

7. Proline Tube iPod Travel System

8. Apple iPod Touch

9. Samsung LCD HD Digital TVS

10. Microsoft Office Home

Although fraudsters are spending more per transaction, their choice of products closely mirrors those of genuine shoppers (see product list below), as criminals shrewdly choose the most popular must-have products, which they can resell on the black market.

What’s hot with fraudsters

1. Apple iPad Wif

2. Canon EOS D Digital SLR Camera

3. New Apple iPod Touch

4. Nikon D Digital SLR Camera

5. Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer

6. Apple Macbook Pro

7. Sony Playstation 3 Slim Console

8. Home Office Software

9. Proline Tube iPod Travel Speakers

10. HP Pavilion Laptop