Queen's Christmas message cues the start of online sales shopping

LONDON - Thousands of people will use the Queen's speech on Christmas day as the signal to begin their online sales shopping activity, a new survey is predicting.

The research, compiled by Transaction Partnership, suggests that at 3pm on Christmas day, people will begin searching for bargains.

Last year, Christmas day was one of the biggest shopping days, and this year it is predicted that over 5.2m people will go online, according to online retail trade group IMRG -- more than will attend church.

Transaction is advising retailers of the likely spike in traffic at 3pm, so that they can be prepared.

Retailers beginning their sales on Christmas day including Marks & Spencer, Comet, Argos, Halfords and John Lewis.

Richard Blanchard, one of Transaction's founders, said: "More retail sales started on Christmas Day 2007 than ever before and retailers caught out last time won't let it happen again.

"Some sales this year are even starting on Christmas Eve but the majority of people are still putting the final touches to their plans for the following day."

The Queen's speech was watched by a combined audience of around 8m last year, compared with 28m in 1987.

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