Black Friday is already well underway in the UK, but while things got off to a slow start on the high street, online retailers saw a frenzy of activity in the early hours.
John Lewis had already sold out of iPad Mini 2s by 9.30am, after the retailer slapped a £50 discount on the popular Apple gadget, bringing the price down to £189.
Stocks of other iPad models were also running low on the site, including the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with .256GB storage, which sold out despite only having £20 knocked off the price.
Amazon had also been offering an iPad Mini for £189, but quickly sold out. Argos is still offering an iPad Mini 2 for £209, a £50 discount on their regular price.
Meanwhile, Currys PC World is reporting its highest ever number of orders, up 40% on 2015, with over half a million visitors to the website before 6am.
At 5am, the electrical retailer saw its highest ever Black Friday mobile share of online traffic at 65% – up 13% against 2015’s peak.
Very.co.uk reported that its website traffic peaked in the first two hours of its Black Friday deals going live, with 70,000 people on the site at once.
On average, 15 consoles were sold every minute – or one every 4 seconds – and a smartwatch sold every 12 seconds.
The shop revealed that Brits were logging on from phones and tablets to bag bargains – with 90% of traffic to the site from people using mobile devices.
John Roberts, CEO and founder of AO.com, commented that online shopping is the best way to ensure you get the best price on Black Friday.
“The day itself has evolved over the last couple of years and online has emerged as the winning way to shop, due to the sheer convenience it offers customers,” he said.
According to a breakdown of last year’s traffic by market research firm Hitwise, retailers received over 28 million online visits per hour last year.
Visitors to the Argos website looked to be the most eager, with most visits to the site taking place at 1am. Over a third of all retail site visits were made to the Amazon website alone.
“Even for those retailers that are not hosting their own Black Friday offerings on their online properties, they still need to be prepared for increased traffic as an influx of buyers flock to their website to compare prices with competitors,” said John Rakowski, director of technology strategy at AppDynamics.
“The key to success will come to those retailers that prepare appropriately for the added pressure online, not only from the UK, but around the world.”