But experts warn that some bargains may not be quite as attractive as they appear.
Many internet retailers, including Amazon and
However, a dramatic surge is expected today through the weekend to Cyber Monday.
A study by the Centre for Retail Research estimates spending at online stores over the three days will hit £5.75billion – up by 53 per cent on the £3.77billion for the Black Friday weekend last year.
Many internet retailers, including Amazon and eBay, have been running Black Friday deals for weeks
Fleets of delivery drivers will be needed to meet the demand, leading to fears that the courier system will not be able to cope, threatening delays and disappointment.
Many supermarket delivery slots for the week before Christmas are already booked and there is a shortage of qualified drivers to deal with the tsunami of online orders. The Shopping for Christmas study predicts online spending will peak on Black Friday itself when £1.34million will be spent every minute.
Because much of the high street is closed, the report – commissioned by Vouchercodes.co.uk – predicts that spending in bricks-and-mortar shops over the weekend will be down by 63.7 per cent on last year, from £4.79billion to £1.74billion.
The figures suggest that the total spent this weekend online and on the high street could be £7.5billion.
Black Friday, a US custom in which shops slash prices to lure Christmas shoppers, falls the day after Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
However, experts warn that many Black Friday deals in the UK are not what they seem.
Research by Which? reveals that 85 per cent of products promoted as Black Friday deals last year had been on sale at the same price or cheaper in the weeks before.
The consumer group said shoppers should also look out for duds that come at a tempting price but still aren’t worth the money.
Which? identified a range of bargain goods, from toasters to TVs and car seats, that are of such poor quality it deems them ‘Don’t Buy’ products – some of them sold by the likes of Amazon, AO.com, Currys PC World and John Lewis.
Shops along Princes Street in Edinburgh display posters and signs advertising sales ahead of Black Friday. For the first time, Britons will spend more online this Christmas than in the high street thanks to the lockdown of non-essential stores
It said: ‘Dud deals include a stairgate that failed a key safety test, a tepid toaster and a vacuum cleaner that fails to do the dirty work.’
For example, the Hisense 65A7100FTUK LED TV, on sale at £499 at Currys PC World, had the worst picture quality Which? reviewers had seen on a 65in TV for years.
Natalie Hitchins, of Which?, said: ‘Don’t dive in when you spot a tempting deal or you could end up with a dud. Save money and time by steering clear of these Don’t Buy products. To nab a quality product that will last the test of time, look beyond the special offer and check independent, thorough test results.’