Cyberspace sales war as 'Black Friday' fever grips Dublin shoppers
Irish shoppers will today splurge a massive €4m every hour as 'Black Friday' spending fever grips the country.
Retailers are offering bargains for a range of products - coupled with an array of sales promotions - aimed at getting an early slice of the festive spend.
So-called Black Friday and Cyber Monday - American traditions now gaining a foothold in Ireland - mark the start of a three-week run-in to Christmas.
Retail Ireland expects this to be the best festive season for retailers in seven years, with overall sales to increase by 3.5pc on last year.
Visa Europe predicts that €98m will be spent on online purchases by the time the tills ring off on 'Cyber Monday' on December 1.
This represents an 18pc increase on the €83m spent by Irish consumers during the same period last year - making it the biggest weekend for Irish online shopping in history.
In-store and shopping online today is set to top €128m, Visa said. Debenhams, Harvey Norman, Currys, Argos, Littlewoods, and Smyths, are among the many retailers with sales promotions this weekend, both online and in stores.
And with the sales set to continue, the biggest sellers are electrical goods, ranging from smart TVs and washing machines, to the usual galaxy of laptops and tablets.
Irish shoppers on British sites from Amazon to Topshop are also being enticed with a variety of special discounts.
Ireland's main Christmas shopping day was traditionally December 8, but trade is now spread out over a longer period, with various promotions designed to entice spenders to part with their cash.
Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said this weekend marks the start of the "real" Christmas shopping period.
Richard Guiney, chief executive of business grouping DublinTown, said today will be "crazy", with over 600,000 would-be purchasers expected to flood the city centre.
This time last year saw the single biggest yearly week-on-week increase with 32pc more visitors in the city. Overall, Dublin city centre footfall continues to increase, and is up on 2014 by almost 5pc since the beginning of September.
Shopping outlets in various population centres have also invested heavily in various marketing initiatives, plus the provision of other enticements, such as special parking.