£1.4bn was spent on online sales in the UK on Black Friday, up 11.7% on last year. Cyber Monday, UK online sales were up 3% between 11am and 5pm compared to 2016, the peak minute for purchasing goods being 4:38pm.

‘[John Lewis] sold an average of 705 items every minute via its website between the hours 9am and 10am’

A number of the UK’s large online retailers recorded big increases in online sales. John Lewis reported Black Friday as its most successful day, and sold an average of 705 items every minute via its website between the hours 9am and 10am. Maplin said Black Friday was its biggest-ever online trading day, sales during the day up by 5% on 2016, with smart home hubs, speakers and drones being amongst the biggest sellers. Black Friday was also Lovehoney’s busiest day in its 15-year history, with sales up 35% on 2016.

There appeared to be an improvement in retailer website performance for Black Friday weekend. Out of the top retailers over the weekend only a few appeared to have difficulties with websites, and those that did only had errors that were short-lived.

“Just like last year, Amazon has been leading the way with its strong website performance over the whole shopping period,” said Simon Wharton, managing director at PushON. “Curry’s has stayed online continuously too, clearly vowing to not make the same mistakes as last year.”

‘The number of shoppers in stores was down by 3.6%, according to researcher Springboard’

But the huge online uptake of deals and discounts did little to help shopping centres and high streets. The number of shoppers in stores was down by 3.6%, according to researcher Springboard. There was also very little in the way of queuing and barging that has been seen in recent years, as consumers became savvy to the fact that most deals could be just as easily battled for from the comfort of their own couch.

Retailers have been “de-emphasizing their in-store offering while bombarding consumers with daily promotional emails for over a week,” according to Bryan Roberts, an analyst at TCC Global. Online deals were also strategically planned by retailers to maximize profitability up to a year in advance.

“People shop in a lot more places than they would normally. Because they know everyone is offering massive discounts then they are inclined to shop around more”

Why the online success? It’s no secret that online shopping is continuing to grow year-on-year, but the online retailers trade body IMRG says it works particularly well for sales.

“People shop in a lot more places than they would normally. Because they know everyone is offering massive discounts then they are inclined to shop around more. Online lends itself well to that,” said Andy Mulcahy, IMRG strategy and insight director.