18,000 fewer transactions during peak Christmas Eve shopping hour compared to 2020

Time has just about run out for anyone hoping to get their hands on last-minute Christmas gifts.

But unlike previous years, shopping malls haven't been jam-packed with customers.

'Twas the night before Christmas, but there are still some presents missing under the tree. 

Thousands of people made a last-minute dash to Auckland's Sylvia Park today, but this year, customers weren't greeted with the chaos we've come to expect. 

Instead, there's been a steady - but relaxed - flow of foot-traffic throughout the day. 

"People have really utilised the fact we've been open until midnight for the past few nights, so it's been really good because they've shopped right across the day," says Helen Ronald, Sylvia Park asset manager.

The busiest time to shop on Christmas Eve is between 12pm and 1pm. But Worldline data shows there were almost 18,000 fewer transactions during that time this Christmas Eve compared to last year. 

Ronald says COVID-19 is to blame. 

"I think a lot of people shopped early, because they were worried about stock levels."

She says most shoppers have come in with a game-plan and aren't as eager to hang around. 

"There's more dedicated shopping - they come in with their list; they shop, shop shop; they've got their bags and then they go."

But not all shopping habits have changed - some got distracted by drinks and snacks, while others used their time at the shops to pick up a few things for themselves.

After the year that's been, they deserve it.