The research by comparison website MoneySupermarket.com found shoppers were planning to spend £2.9bn on the first day of sales alone.
Meanwhile market analysis firm Experian said yesterday was likely to be the “biggest and busiest ever” Boxing Day for online retailers, accounting for almost £500m of total sales.
Sales yesterday were described as “pleasantly robust” by retailers on the ground, but shops are predicting a strong showing from bargain-hunters on 27 December, the day after Boxing Day.
Jace Tyrrell, deputy CEO of the New West End Company, which represents more than 600 retailers across London’s West End, said Oxford Street was lined with “eager” bargain-hunters this morning.
“It was a good Boxing Day, but I think today and tomorrow will be even stronger,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of international visitors – I’d say three quarters of the street crowds were overseas tourists.”
He said visitors from China, the Middle East Nigeria were spending significant amounts of money on luxury items in big department stores.
Queues were seen outside John Lewis in Central London, which did not start its sales on Boxing Day and waited until today.
A spokesperson for Experian said the online retail figures were promising.
“It’s a big increase on last year,” he said. “Retailers have been getting better at connecting with their customers and people are shopping online as a leisure activity.”
“The shopping season now starts with Black Friday promotions and then online is ruling the roost right through to the middle of December, when footfall picks up again. Then after Christmas, people are getting back on their smartphones.”
Experian Hitwise analytics recording 147 million visits to retail websites on the 25th, up from 110 million on Christmas Day 2013.
Retail footfall analyst Ipsos Retail Performance produced figures which said the number of shoppers hitting highstreets on Boxing Day was stronger than many expected.
Footfall levels were down 7.1% on last year.