Consumer: The festive shopping frenzy begins...

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On November 28, consumers will spend £360,000 per minute as the Christmas shopping frenzy begins in earnest.

the traditional ‘Christmas sales’ used to start on Boxing Day. But, with the advent of online shopping, and with more retailers looking to grab the attention and pounds of consumers in the lead up to Christmas, that concept has been virtually wiped out.

This week, retailers are already preparing for what they predict will be the UK’s biggest day of shopping - Black Friday.

Despite the name, the sales extravaganza has already begun, with Amazon.co.uk beginning its Black Friday Deals Week this week with “lightning deals” every 10 minutes and heavy discounting.

But on Friday, the UK high street, most online retailers and the malls will be slashing prices in the hope that it will really kick off the Christmas shopping season.

Visa Europe is predicting that £360,000 will be spent every minute, or £6,000 per second, on its cards.

Although Amazon.co.uk introduced the UK to the American event in 2010, local retailers have been quick to get involved.

John Lewis has promised that its Never Knowingly Undersold commitment will remain in place on Friday subject to availability.

John Lewis director of online Mark Lewis said: “Black Friday has definitely become one of the key dates in the UK’s shopping calendar.

“Black Friday is changing the way our customers plan their Christmas shopping and we expect this year will see it come of age in the retail calendar.”

Among the more than 3,000 Amazon deals, shoppers will find a men’s Citizen quartz watch down from £229 to £69, an Ariel 18ct white gold and diamond necklace reduced from £12,995 to £6,995 and a £99.99 Panasonic bread maker on sale for £69.99.

Amazon’s vice president of EU retail, Xavier Garambois, said: “Last year, Black Friday was so popular that for the very first time in our history we received orders for over four million items in one day.

“This year, we are offering ten times as many deals as Black Friday Deals Week 2010. From children’s toys and consoles to fine jewellery and wearable technology, Black Friday Deals Week now signals the start of Christmas shopping in the UK with millions of pounds to be saved.”

Asda said it would be leveraging the buying power of parent company Walmart – renowned for its Black Friday deals in the United States – to offer deals such as quad bikes for £3,500, a discount of almost 50 per cent.

Currys PC World said it expected Black Friday traffic to its website to exceed that of Christmas Day with more than one million visits.

Jeremy Fennell, e-commerce director of Currys PC World, said: “Black Friday is one of the biggest trading days of the year now, with more and more retailers getting involved.

“We predict traffic to our websites this year to be even bigger than the volume seen on Christmas Day last year, with over half coming from mobile as more and more people take the opportunity to get great deals on the go. It’s going to be a huge day.”

Electricals retailer ao.com said it would have 125 deals on its site over the next week and is forecasting an “unprecedented” increase in year-on-year sales on Friday.

Superdrug said it expected to sell a Black Friday product every second, including 16,000 electrical toothbrushes, 20,000 bottles of fragrance and half-price One Direction light-up mirrors.

VoucherCodes.co.uk said it would have a team of 50 people tracking and uploading codes, deals and flash sales from across the web on to a dedicated page for consumers navigating the sales.

Women in Yorkshire are best at saving money during the festive season.

A new study by TopCashback.co.uk reveals that while a quarter of men in the region admit to putting the cost of Christmas on credit cards, just 13 per cent of women do so. Women are also better at festive budgeting, with three quarters making their own gifts and regifting unwanted presents. The survey also found more than half of householders have set themselves a budget for Christmas. On average, consumers plan to spend £338 in total.

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