Public sector strikes boosted online sales.
November's public sector strikes resulted in the biggest online shopping day of the year
A study, from BT, found that this year bucked the trend for online shopping, as people logged on earlier than usual to do their Christmas shopping.
Traditionally, the biggest day of the year for retail websites is the first Monday in December as consumers begin their Christmas shopping.
But analysis by the payment technology arm of BT shows that the busiest day of the year for retail websites was November 30, the day that one million public sectors take the day off.
On strike day, transactions on retail websites rose 163 per cent on an average day, and 45 per cent higher than November 30, 2010.
"Whether or not people were striking or working from home or simply unable to get to work because of the industrial action, it seems many decided November 30 was a good time to do their Christmas shopping online," says Richard Vining, head of performance for BT Fresca.
At the time, many shopping centres reported "exceptionally busy trading" for a Wednesday – with footfall figures showing the number of shoppers rose by seven per cent.
Although far more people shopped online last year – up 58 per cent – consumers spent less per transaction, meaning that sales increased by just 32 per cent in 2011 in value terms.