UK shoppers are still picking up last minute gifts and bargains on the internet, to avoid mixing with others as cases of Omicron Covid-19 variant skyrocket.
Latest data from intelligence firm Springboard shows that the usual trend for high street footfall to boom before the big day reversed this year.
Last weekend, visits to retailers on Saturday increased just 0.8 per cent, while they decreased by 1.8 per cent a day later, when compared to the weekend before.
With only a few days left to Christmas, it’s no surprise that consumers are choosing to do their shopping online, according to the experts.
James Andrews, senior personal finance writer at money.co.uk said: “The new figures show that right now consumers are wary of hitting the high street, as Omicron cases rise across the UK.
“With numbers only going up and restrictions predicted in the coming days, we expect to see even more shoppers buying online before Christmas, as well as during the sales that follow the big day.
"With that in mind, now is the perfect time to brush up on the top tips and tricks when it comes to buying online.
“One of the biggest upsides of shopping online is that it’s quick and easy to bargain hunt, as you can compare the price of what you want from countless retailers in minutes.
“Using Google shopping, you can filter your search results by price, retailer, rating delivery and lots more.
"Once you have selected the item you want, just click 'compare prices’ to see how much every available retailer is charging".
How to save money online:
He continued: “There are a number of other sites that can also help you bag a bargain online.
"CamelCamelCamel shows you how the price of products on Amazon have changed over time, while PriceRunner allows users to compare costs on a range of products.
"Tools like this will help you buy your item from the right retailer at the right time".
It’s also essential to know your refund rights, he advised. Online purchases come with a 14-day grace period, which means in the majority of cases you can return an item in the two weeks after receiving it.
Most retailers won’t charge you to return an item, and if your item arrived damaged then it’s the suppliers responsibility to pay all return postage costs, not yours.
However, perishables, event tickets, personalised presents and sealed items you’ve opened are frequently non-returnable, so you should always check the terms of your item before you purchase.
As regards the danger of scammers, Mr Andrews said: "If you shop smart then you should be able to avoid getting caught out.
"The most important thing to do if you are worried about the authenticity of a company, is to research them before giving away your money or data.
“Check that a company is legitimate by investigating its website. Look for contact details and an address, as this is usually evidence that the firm is real and reliable.
"Also Google the brand and see what others online are saying about it. Review sites like Feefo, Trustpilot and TripAdvisor will tell you about the quality of customer service and products, while also warning against scams.
“Another great way to safeguard yourself online is by making purchases with a credit card, as this will give you extra protection.
"If there’s a breakdown in the supply chain and you're not able to get a refund, you can claim the full cost of your items back from your credit card company under Section 75, as long the purchase value is between £100 and £30,000.
“Just make sure you pay off the cost inside the interest-free period if possible, to avoid having interest added on top of the cost of the presents themselves".