Black Friday expected to generate £1bn online shopping frenzy

Black Friday: Quiet Start for Stores but Retailers Hope for Records

Millions of consumers are set to spend their way to the UK's first £1 billion online shopping day today in the Black Friday bargain frenzy.

Retailers made cut-price deals available online from midnight and many spent the night preparing to open their doors early to customers desperate to snap up discounted stock, ranging from televisions to toothbrushes.

Tesco and John Lewis have both installed queuing systems in expectation of large crowds, while the supermarket giant has assured customers it will have enough security and stock in stores following scuffles over limited numbers of items last year.

Ebay is expecting nine million Britons to visit its website today, Argos, Currys PC World and are all offering hundreds of pounds off selected items, while John Lewis has promised to honour its Never Knowingly Undersold pledge and match competitors' prices. is offering its Fire tablet for £34.99, £15 cheaper than the regular price, as well as deals on televisions, video game consoles and Star Wars toys and £650 off a Gibson electric guitar, while those in the market for fine jewellery can snap up a white gold and diamond tennis bracelet for £3,500 off the regular price of £8,995.

Last year, Black Friday overtook Cyber Monday for the first time as's busiest day, when it sold more than 5.5 million items at a rate of 64 per second.

But things got off to a slow start on Oxford Street this morning, where midnight came and went without any hint of last year's consumer chaos.

The Boots flagship store on Sedley Place was one of a handful of shops which opened extra early, advertising deals on huge posters by the shop entrance.

But the doors flung open to two waiting journalists and no customers.

Police have warned shops to ensure they have carefully thought-out security plans in place for the sales following chaos at a number of stores across the UK last year when huge crowds grappled for cut-price televisions and other big-ticket items.

Experian-IMRG believes internet spending today will hit £1.07 billion, a 32% increase on last year's £810 million - the first time that online retail sales in the UK will surpass £1 billion in one day.

The Centre for Retail Research expects a slightly more modest £966 million online but predicts total Black Friday sales including at bricks and mortar stores will reach £1.39 billion, with shopping over the entire weekend - culminating in Cyber Monday - to hit £3.49 billion.

Visa Europe predicts that shoppers will spend £721 million online on its cards today, up from £616 million last year.

However, consumer advocates warned that shoppers should exercise caution amid the rush for bargains.

Martin Lewis, founder of, has warned that the majority of Black Friday deals "aren't special" and advised shoppers to cross-check deals with items they actually need.

He said: "Above all, remember: if you don't want something, don't need it or can't afford it, then don't buy it."