Amazon puts date on shopping rush

Amazon Fulfillment Centre, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7LF
Amazon Fulfillment Centre, Boundary Way, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7LF

Online retailer Amazon.co.uk, which has one of its eight UK fulfillment centres in Hemel Hempstead, is bracing itself for a Cyber Monday surge after the weekend.

The retailer predicts the busiest time for online shopping on the day will be 6pm as workers get home, get online and shop.

Xavier Garambois, vice president of EU Retail at Amazon, said: “The expected peak in sales at 6pm on Cyber Monday is interesting as traditionally sales have spiked later in the evening. In fact, in 2011, sales peaked at 9.20pm.

“The earlier rush indicates that people will be using their commute to get a head start on their shopping or logging on as soon as they get home, so they can relax in the knowledge that their Christmas shopping is done.”

On Cyber Monday last year, Amazon.co.uk saw more than 3.5 million items ordered on the site, at a rate of around 41 per second.

That meant a delivery lorry packed with Cyber Monday orders left one of Amazon’s fulfillment centres every two minutes and 10 seconds.

To meet demand, Amazon is hiring more than 15,000 people across the UK for seasonal positions in fulfilment and customer service centres, including Hemel Hempstead, this Christmas, with 800 moving into permanent roles before the end of the year.

The biggest online shopping site in the world moved into its huge building in Boundary Way in 2012, creating 600 permanent jobs.

Prime Minister David Cameron paid a visit during the site’s official opening and the fact that 
Amazon chose Hemel Hempstead is seen as a huge thumbs up for the Dacorum area and a vote of confidence in the borough council’s economic development strategy.

But the firm is no stranger to controversy, being blamed for everything from the demise of bookshops to failing to pay a fair share of taxation. Its supporters point out that Amazon helps the economy by giving people jobs.