Black Friday looks set for record sales as top retailers are offering more than double the number of deals they did last year.
Shops have made preparations for a huge spike in online orders with physical stores forced to close because of lockdown.
John Lewis has shifted stock from its shops into warehouses while Robert Dyas has taken on extra staff to fulfill deliveries.
Data from Hotdealsuk, the discounts aggregator, showed that the number of deals offered by the biggest Black Friday retailers is 129 per cent higher than last November, while across the board discounts are up by 49 per cent, according to Lovethesales.
And shoppers have already taken advantage. Online sales increased by 61 per cent and 58 per cent in the first two weeks of November when compared to the same period in 2019, according to trade body IMRG.
Tom Church, the creator of a dedicated shopping app called Black Friday, said membership had increased by 302 per cent on 2019, as shoppers are keen to find the best discounts.
Dan Plant, of Hotdealsuk, said: “Retailers are fighting more than ever before for shoppers’ cash over Black Friday this year, with a huge emphasis on online offers due to the lockdown restrictions.
“We’re already seeing more deals than 2019 and expecting a large peak in the week before the big day.” He warned shoppers to scrutinise reductions carefully as they may find they are not “what they first appear”.
Ebay, the shopping website, said it is expecting traffic to its website to eclipse last year, when 18 items were sold every second.
Murray Lambell, General Manager of eBay UK said: “We predict online baskets will be filled with items such as gym equipment, toys and entertainment that the whole family can enjoy as we stay home more and put an increased focus on keeping our minds and bodies healthy.”
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Meanwhile, Richard Lim, chief executive of Retail Economics, the analysts, said people are likely to do at least some of their Christmas shopping online during the sales.
Research by the firm suggested that nearly seven million people plan to do 90 per cent of their Christmas shopping using the internet this year.
Mr Lim added: “The seismic shift towards online will create the biggest Black Friday ever, as savvy shoppers bring forward their Christmas spending to take advantage of discounts.”
He added: “Retailers are already working around the clock to fulfil online orders and stretching out the event will help them cope as capacity comes under strain.”