Amazon's Boxing Day sale to start a day early. Merry Christmas, everyone.

17 December 2012

Did you think Christmas started even earlier this year? Perhaps shortly after Easter? Although the shops have been jingling and sparkling and pumping out Shakin’ Stevens and Cliff Richard for months, it has, in reality, only been December for 17 days, and in 8 short days time, all the hype and fuss will be over for another year. Then all we have to do is wait for the sales.

Or perhaps we won’t have to wait. Furniture stores traditionally begin their sale* on Boxing Day, with many other stores following suit, neglecting the traditional bank holiday in favour of some eager bargain-hunting sales. Now Amazon, the nation’s second favourite retailer (according to a Conlumino poll), has decided to start its Boxing Day sale a day early. Yep, the Christmas sales will now start on the big day itself.

Amazon claim this is merely providing what the customer wants, and not only as an excuse to escape hairy relatives that have ensconced themselves in your lounge. The rise in digital tablets and e-readers given as gifts (take note any of my relatives who have never yet been quite *that* generous) has meant record increases in download sales on Christmas Day.

Xavier Garambois, vice president of EU retail at Amazon, told The Telegraph: “The digital revolution has certainly played a part in this growth and Christmas Day is our biggest day of the year for MP3 and Kindle Book downloads as many people are buying content for their new devices that they have just received.

“It’s not just digital items though. We are seeing purchases of everything from baby products to women’s clothing rapidly growing on Christmas Day. Many customers are shopping on Christmas Day in a way that has previously only been seen in the retail industry on Boxing Day.”

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart, and around one in 40 adults were given an e-reader like a Kindle over the festive season, which was around double the number given the previous year. With the advent (smirk) of the new iPad and iPad mini, with 640,000 tablets sold during this time last year, analysts expect the trend to continue its sharp upward trend, meaning more people will be shopping for apps over their turkey and sprouts.

Online spend is expected to rise to £307 million this Christmas Day, according to forecasts by Experian and IMRG.’s Christmas Day deals will include clearance offers, reduced-price digital goods and limited-quantity ‘lightning deals’, like cheap apps, HD TVs reduced from £230 to £140, and 50 per cent off items such as desk lamps. Because everyone pulls their cracker and ponders how they really wish they’d been given a desk lamp this year.

So are Amazon really just giving us what we want? With reports that UK taxpaying John Lewis have had yet another record-breaking week for sales, and stories that Amazon’s book prices actually become less competitive outside the top 20 (despite paying a tiny rate of VAT), is this a genuine concern over meeting our Christmas Day shopping fix or is it simply a way to prop up floundering sales?

Who knows. But starting Chrsitmas sales early isn’t even that unusual. John Lewis, which was named Britain’s favourite store for Christmas, in the same poll of 2,000 people, actually started its online sale at 6pm on Christmas Eve last year. Although a little late for delivery, perhaps that allowed some cheapskates to wrap an order confirmation for under the tree…


*we think that DFS are contractually obliged to have at least one day per year where they do not have a sale on. They do have a sale on now, so we are guessing that day is Christmas Day.

TOPICS:   Christmas


  • Englebert.Humperdinck
    No joke but I'm actually in the market for a desk lamp right now so I'm all for it
  • Kevin
    'Amazon’s book prices actually become less competitive outside the top 20 (despite paying a tiny rate of VAT)' Not many books are that competitive outside the top 20. And those that start out cheap can easily rocket back up in price, and that's true in Tesco's, in Waterstones and especially in Blackwells, not just Amazon. They pay the legal minimum of tax they have to (after all they are NOT a UK company), but I'm thinking that the 'free' shipping is a major cost they are bearing that costs them a fortune that most people now take for granted.
  • sdutton007
    I just realized something - if Amazon are paying a tiny rate of VAT (due to the loophole that allows them to run it through Luxembourg) - then how can they legally charge us 20% VAT at checkout ???
  • Sicknote
    What day is the day before boxing day...?
  • wow
    @sdutton - they don't, inland revenue do.
  • Dick
    It's corporation tax that they avoid, not VAT. You pay that (which they collect, and pass on to HMRC).
  • sdutton007
    I've just looked into this further, and it does indeed seem that Amazon are charging 20% VAT and only paying 3% VAT.... how does this possibly work?

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