Kiwi shoppers pack up malls and enjoy annual Boxing Day sales as much of the world grapples with Covid-19-induced restrictions.
At Auckland’s Sylvia Park, shoppers are already lining up before the first shop opens at 7am.
Hunters for bargains were also seen lining the street outside Dress Smart in Onehunga before the 9am opening hour.
In Sylvia Park, 8 am is buzzing when all the shops are open. At midday, center manager Helen Ronald said it was “probably busier than last year”.
This is a trend that has only increased over the last few weeks. After a tough year for retailers due to the Covid-19 lockdown, shoppers are actually using the “support local” message.
On Christmas Eve there are record-breaking transaction levels, all of which lead to Boxing Day becoming even more profitable.
Ronald says it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what keeps shoppers out today because every store has such a good deal.
“I’ve seen a lot of fashions, homewares and sportswear – all of them very busy.
“There are some really good deals. Farmers as usual are making good sales, but everyone has a great deal today, it applies to everyone as well.
“I think after all the years people go through, they go out, have a relaxed shop, enjoy cheap prices, and we see lots of families here. It’s something we see over Christmas, and it’s a lot of fun to look at.
“It’s really like any ordinary Boxing Day, one of those days you are so grateful to be in New Zealand.”
On countrywide sales, consumers can expect a discount of 10 to 70 percent off the retail price, but generally only on certain items.
At West Auckland’s Nido, which recently entered the receiving department, customers will get a 50 percent discount on all stock in the store.
NZ chief retail executive, Greg Harford, said it was too early for any data to show how busy Boxing Day was, but he was hearing positive things.
“Anecdotally, I hear things are pretty stable. It’s only in Wellington that I’ve seen buyers everywhere. December spending has been relatively strong since Black Friday, and we expect Boxing Day to be one of the biggest.”
Harford expects a big increase in people choosing local stores and brands after a campaign to support local retailers through a tough year.
Also, because many Kiwis can’t travel, they spend more money at the shop, he said.
Another growing trend is in online shopping.
Some of New Zealand’s major retailers, such as Noel Leeming and the Warehouse start their Boxing Day sales online on Christmas Eve, while most others start on Christmas Day.
“I think we could see a huge spike in online spending this year. Some of the sales started on Christmas Eve, and many more yesterday, so I think more people are turning to the online space, because it means you can do it from home or even on the beach. “
Between midnight and 2pm on Christmas Eve, Kiwi consumers have spent more than $ 166 million.
The busiest time of 12.30 shows a peak of 204 transactions per second – a new record, surpassing the previous record of 188 transactions per second (daily average is usually around 60 transactions per second).
Paymark records around three million transactions processed between midnight and 2pm on Christmas Eve.
Spokesman Paul Brislen said the spending data would not be updated until Monday.
Expenditures via Paymark on Boxing Day last year totaled $ 149 million.