Cyber MondayAFP/Getty Images

Get ready for Cyber Monday. Britain's busiest online shopping day of the year is expected to be Monday 3 December. The annual shopping frenzy ahead of Christmas is set to reach its crescendo at 9.20pm.

This year's Cyber Monday is going to be busier than ever, Amazon believes. But the best time to bag a cheap deal is during Black Friday Deals Week.

Cyber Monday usually falls on the first Monday in December. Last year, on 5 December 2011, Amazon.co.uk received orders for more than 3 million items - which meant 35 items were ordered every second over the 24 hour period. On average, at its peak, a delivery truck was leaving an Amazon UK warehouse once every 2 minutes and 45 seconds.

"As people increasingly shop on mobile devices and benefit from fast broadband at home, we're seeing a move towards customers buying their Christmas gifts later in the evening when they are at home relaxing," said Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk.


"Monday 3 December could be the busiest day in the history of Amazon.co.uk, and we're preparing for it by hiring more than 10,000 seasonal employees across our eight UK fulfilment centres."

Whilst Monday 3 December is set to be the biggest online shopping day, the best time to nab a cheap deal is during Black Friday Deals Week, which will return for a third year from Monday 19 November. Many items will be sold at knockdown prices that week, mirroring the post-Thanksgiving sales in the US.

Every year, towards the end of November, millions of shoppers on the other side of the Atlantic take advantage of the massive savings offered by retailers around 'Black Friday', the discount shopping day that follows Thanksgiving in America. 'Black Friday' signals the start of the Christmas shopping period in the US and last year more than $52.4 billion was spent by shoppers in America over Black Friday weekend. Amazon started bringing 'Black Friday Deals Week' to the UK in 2010.



Hotels and other travel businesses have also started offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers. The @Cyber Monday Twitter feed will keep you informed about the latest deals. Facebook merchants are also getting ready to offer deals through the social media site - dubbed 'Facebook Monday'. But to what extent Cyber Monday is just PR spin - a marketing tool - is unclear as retail sales data are patchy.

"There were tens of thousands of items available during Black Friday Deals Week at Amazon.co.uk in 2011 and customers were quick to snap them up before the deals expired," said Xavier Garambois, vice president of EU retail at Amazon. "This year we will have even more items and even more deals than ever before but we still expect them to sell out quickly."

The Black Friday deals will run on Amazon's Today's Deals page from 19 to 25 November and feature so-called Lightning Deals - time and quantity limited offers. Find out more here.

Some of the most popular deals available during Black Friday Deals Week in 2011 included:
  • Signed One Direction 'Up All Night' CD – 50% off
  • Samsung 50" HD Television – 55% off
  • Decleor Beauty Products – 40% off
  • LOVEFiLM subscription – 70% off
  • Canon PowerShot A3300 IS Digital Camera – 38% off



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