Black Friday spending frenzy tops Boxing Day sales

Shoppers opened their wallets on Black Friday, showing that Kiwis were in the mood to snap up deals ahead of the traditionally busiest shopping day of Christmas Eve.

However not everyone was impressed with some shoppers saying the bargains were not as good as Black Friday sales overseas. 

According to Paymark electronic card data (including some online shopping), spending on Black Friday totalled $253m, up 22.5 percent on Black Friday last year (23 November 2018), and almost four times the amount spent last Boxing Day ($63.8m).  

Excluding food and hospitality, shoppers splurged on goods to the tune of $71.4m.  Compared to Friday, 30 November 2018, Black Friday this year saw spending on goods rise by $21m (42.6 percent).

Shoppers favoured department stores, clothing shops, furniture outlets, sports equipment outlets and toy and game shops, where sales were reported to be up by over 60 percent.  Supermarkets, hairdressers and internet service providers also experienced an increase in spending.

Over the Black Friday extended shopping weekend (Friday, 29 November to Sunday, 1 December), the total value of transactions through Paymark totalled $652m, up 12.8 percent in underlying terms from the three-day Black Friday weekend in 2018.

Spending growth over the three days was strongest in Wellington ($62.7m, up 15.5 percent) and the Bay of Plenty $43.7m, up 14.3 percent), while the lowest spending growth year-on-year was in Nelson ($11.3m, up 6.2 pecent).

In dollar terms, shoppers across Auckland and Northland spent the most at $267.8m, followed by Cantabrians at $73.4m.

Talking to More FM on Tuesday, several listeners commented that, compared to America, where shoppers queue for hours for discounts of up to 90 percent, Kiwi Black Friday deals have alot of catching up to do.

Commenting on just how big Black Friday deals are overseas, Anna reported that she got more than she bargained for while in San Francisco on a shopping trip with a friend. 

"I'd done too much shopping and I needed a new suitcase to get home and it just coincided with Black Friday sales.  I saw a sign that said 'Macy samsonite suitcases' [were] $25' (the big, decent-sized ones).

"We sat on the concrete for three hours in a queue, waiting to get in and we were sixth and seventh in the queue.

"The doors opened and I just got shoved from behind and shoved into the bit that sticks out at the bottom of the window and I cracked my shoulder blade."

In Alabama a few years' ago on a Black Friday, Lisa, a More FM listener said that she picked up a 60" (inch) TV for US$200 which she estimates was around US$2,000 worth - a true black Friday sale.

"We were there for hours and hours in the carpark and it was like 'the running of the bulls' - it was just madness."

Commenting on how NZ Black Friday sales compare, Lisa said that everything is dressed up for commercial purposes. 

"They've actually put a [huge] markup on it anyway, so you're not getting anything cheaper," she said.

Kiwi Black Friday deals appear to be their infancy compared to overseas, and finding the best ones required knowledge of standard prices.

Ben, a More FM listener, bought weedkiller from Mitre 10, discounted from $22 to $5, while Georgia became disillusioned with Black Friday after buying jean shorts online.

"I [took a] screen-shot of my wish list and sent it to a friend of mine to say 'hey, if you're looking for a gift, these would be perfect.'

"I looked and two months' ago, these pair of jean shorts were $40 and on [Black] Friday, they were $100 with 20 percent off.

"They were cheaper full-price," Georgia said.

Traditionally, the busiest shopping days of the year are the seven days before Christmas and last year, the busiest shopping day was Thursday, 20 December, when Paymark data shows that shoppers spent $296m.  

As Christmas Day falls on a Wednesday this year (as in 2013), shopping traffic is expected to be heavy on Friday 20 December and Monday 23 December, peaking on Christmas Eve.  While Black Friday was the last official sale before Christmas, those waiting for another shot at picking up good deals are unlikely to be disappointed on Boxing Day.