Avoid the busiest shopping day of the year?

online xmas shopping

online xmas shoppingSaturday 17 December is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year, with mums and dads frantically dashing around city centres and shopping malls on the last weekend before Christmas.

But if the thought of packed high streets leaves you cold, why not go online to save time and money... there should just still be time.

Kelkoo reckons that more than 11 million people will embark upon last-minute Christmas shopping on Saturday, with more than £1 billion likely to be spent.

However, with long queues and Christmas songs playing in stores on seemingly endless loops, much of that total will be spent online.

If you're thinking that you may be better buying your gifts from the comfort of the sofa with a cup of tea and a biscuit, you're not alone either.

The report predicts that overall online sales will be up 16% to 13,4 billion this Christmas, suggesting that families up and down the country will be avoiding the snow and indulging in some laptop shopping.

Kelkoo reckons that on average, people will spend around £700 on Christmas 2011 - with £128 each on presents and other related ephemera.

Chris Simpson, chief marketing officer at Kelkoo, said: "The peak weeks of Christmas trading are crucial to retailers as this period accounts for nearly one-fifth of the UK retail industry's annual sales, making stores fight harder than ever to tempt shoppers through their doors.

"However, despite all of the high street promotions and discounts that are already being offered, it's really important for shoppers who want to save money to check prices online before hitting the shops as many retailers operate a split pricing structure whereby prices on their websites are lower than in their high street stores."

So you're all set: You have your laptop, your brew and the kids have gone out for an hour - last-minute Christmas shopping here you come.

But which websites do you visit to find the best gifts at the best prices? Check out our shopping directory and you'll be away!