Boxing Day sales are likely to get off to a strong start if new data released this week is anything to go by.

UK retailers should expect over 95m visits to their online stores on Boxing Day in the UK from people hunting out the best sale deals, online research company Hitwise is predicting.

"Historically Boxing Day has always been the single biggest day of the year for online retailers as consumers want to spend their Christmas money, exchange unwanted presents and browse ahead of the post-Christmas sales," says James Murray Marketing and Research Analyst, Experian Hitwise UK. "Last year there were 80.5 million visits to online retailers on Boxing Day but this year we are expecting 95 million visits, an 18% uplift year-on-year."

So far the biggest day of the year for online shopping has been Cyber Monday, the first Monday after American Thanksgiving as people start their Christmas shopping in earnest even though the holiday isn't celebrated in the UK.

Hitwise suggest that the massive surge to find deals online is partly down to Boxing Day being on Monday - which is always the biggest day of the week for online traffic to retail sites.

Amazon and a number of other retailers are running Boxing day sales in the hope to drum up poor Christmas performance.

UPDATE: Hitwise has confirmed that "Boxing Day 2011 was the biggest ever shopping day online 96 million visits to retail websites."

Will you be heading online this Christmas? Let us know in the comments below