Cyber Monday (2 December) is expected to be the ‘busiest online shopping day’ in UK history, with $500,000 spent every minute on Visa cards alone.
Cyber Monday is traditionally a US online marketing initiative that occurs after Thanksgiving, but in the last few years it has also been exported to countries including Canada , Portugal , Ireland and the UK .
Visa Europe ‘s Jeremy Nicholds, director of commercial development, said: "With an average of £313,000 ($512,000) expected to be spent online every minute on 2 December, the Christmas shopping season will certainly start with a bang."
In fact card payment firm Visa expects £450m ($740m) to be spent today on its cards alone, with 7.7m online card transactions, while John Lewis expects 80,000 orders and Amazon over 3.5m.
Cyber Monday follows Black Friday, another online shopping busy day for both the UK and US.
Speaking about the US , Poonam Goyal, an analyst for Bloomberg Industries said: "Retailers didn’t get what they wanted from Black Friday and they will need to make it up in the next three weeks".
Given that Black Friday’s sales came in below expectations, US retailers are looking to make up for lost ground on Cyber Monday.
In the UK , the Metropolitan Police has urged online shoppers to be careful not to fall victim to fraud and its new Cyber Crime Unit has developed a check-list for online shopping.
Police advise using anti-virus software, avoiding links sent out by spam or phishing emails and using a credit card instead of a debit card because they may offer increased protection.