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Are the Boxing Day sales real?

We all love a bargain, but scouring the high street technology stores on the day after Xmas did not seem to generate any serious surprises. KitGuru is sent some snaps and breaks out ‘Analysis 101’ to see just how well the shoppers are doing today. Will records be set?

While Christmas Eve is a ‘coming together’ and Christmas Day is a day of serious celebration, over indulgence and plenty of snoozing after boozing – the 26th December is different. Research shows that’s when old differences really begin to resurface & relatives get right under your skin.

To avoid serous conflict, leave. Head out the door, breathe some of the fresh winter air and head for the stores.

Each country is different, but the UK has a strong tradition of starting sales on Boxing Day.

Fashion retailer Next opened its doors at 6am and, by 10am, it still had restrictions in place on how many people could be in the store and - once in - how much you could buy. Technology stores did OK, but not this well.

Alongside the tradition of the kick off date, we Brits also have legislation that says any discount shown MUST be against a price that has been displayed, on the same product, for 28 days in the previous 6 months. In other words, it needs to be a genuine offer. But that doesn’t guard against a huge discrepancy in on/off line pricing. It also doesn’t help people who struggle to understand the brand is the same – no matter what you pay for it.

Entering into one of London’s largest shopping malls, the first store we came to was WH Smiths, a traditional newsagent that’s expanded its range to selling almost everything to do with paper and the office – from books and art supplies to ink jet printers. The window was full of its biggest offers and the eye was drawn to a massive 16GB SD card poster.

It’s Class 4, so quite slow, but good enough for casual use. But how does the ‘WH Smith’s lowest ever price’ compare to high street rival Currys and online retailer, Amazon?

Amazon could almost offer '2 for the price of 1' and still be the same price as 'WH Smiths great SD deal ever'

Informed readers will, no doubt, realise that Amazon is able to undercut honest British retailers because it took £7 billion in sales revenue over the past 2 trading periods, but managed to pay ZERO corporation tax. A normal UK company, operating in a more straightforward way, would have had to cough up close to £100m in tax for that kind of revenue.

Question: Could the £5.99 be achieved without the ‘clever accountant discount’?

Overall, today, around 10 million Brits will take to the high streets and more will shop online for bargains like the PCY card (simultaneously available at £5.99, £9.99 and £14.99).

Once all of the Xmas fairy dust has settled, the result will be a record breaking £2.6 Billion consumer spend in a single day. That’s the highest ever for 26th December.

Based on average store opening times, that’s close to £5 million a minute.

Recession? What recession?

While we’re on the subject of Amazon, it’s worth noting that while the rest of the country slumbers in front of the TV on Christmas Day, Amazon actually takes a huge wad of ‘corporate tax free’ cash on 25th December – with sales up more than 250% over the past 5 years – driven by electronics and gadgets. We’re thinking that each new iPhone/Galaxy creates an urge for covers, speakers and other accessories. Looks like Amazon is satisfying that urge instantly.

Overall, online retailers will receive more than 125 million visits today. Google Ad Words anyone?

For a while now, KitGuru has been wondering what the hell is going on with mainstream laptop pricing. Two years ago, it was possible to buy a 15" Toshiba with a Core i5 processor, 6GB of memory and large hard drive for £420. That price has hardly been touched since, but was finally beaten at Currys today - with a £150 discount on an HP machine. Roll on more of the same for 2013!

KitGuru says: Based on the reports we’re getting in from high street shoppers across the UK, retailers are trying damn hard to take your money. The sales are real, in the sense that store prices have been slashed – and the sub-£400 HP Core i5 laptops are a welcome addition to customer’s selection options. Overall, records have been set at the end of 2012 – we can’t wait for more positivity in the New Year.

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