Shoppers ready to splash the cash on 'Mega Monday'

British consumers look set to put a year of austerity behind them and splash the cash today, as online stores prepare for what has been dubbed 'Mega Monday'.

Experts predict 'Mega Monday' online shopping boom

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Experts predict that shoppers will log on today to make their Christmas purchases and spend an incredible £10,000 a second, £465 million in total, making 115 million visits to online stores between 9am and 9pm.

The Christmas rush will be good news for retailers, many of whom are slashing the price of gifts to cash in, and the total seasonal spend is predicted to top the £5 billion mark.

Credit card firm Visa expects its customers to make some 6.8 million purchases today, a rise of 21 per cent on the same day last year, and Experian analysts believe the number of visits to Internet stores will increase by 36 per cent on 2011.

While the online shopping rush may hit high street stores hard, many of the big names have been preparing for the Internet boom.

John Lewis has already reported record sales from last week, with a total spend of £37.9 million, Asda Direct believe their online sales will rise by 50 per cent today compared to an average Monday, and M&S have recruited 800 additional staff at distribution centres in order to handle the rush.

Gadgets are currently the most searched for items, with the iPad Mini and Kindle Fire HD topping many shoppers' Christmas lists, while children's toys like Barbie, Scalextric and Lego also proving popular.

James Murray, digital insight manager at Experian, suggests Christmas 2012 will see 'record-breaking' sales for online retailers.

He told the Daily Mail: "The current market trends suggest that in the UK, Monday December 3 will be the biggest pre-Christmas day for online retail, with an estimate 115 million visits to online retail outlets and a massive 15 million hours spend online shopping on this day alone."

So all that'll be left to do thereafter is hope all those festive purchases arrive on time.

Are you preparing to splash the cash online this year or will you be heading to the high street? Leave your comments below...