Boxing Day sales: Auckland's lockdown thought to be fuelling buying behaviour this sale season

Picture-postcard summer sun didn't deter those in search of sales at the country's largest shopping mall on Sunday as Boxing Day kicked off with a bang. 

Auckland's Sylvia Park was jam-packed with shoppers lured into bagging a Boxing Day bargain, showing the December 26 sales have not yet been relegated to a relic of the past. 

After spending 107 days in lockdown due to the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, it's understood newfound freedom after months of restrictions is now playing a major part in Aucklanders' buying behaviour.

"Especially with the lockdown, people have wanted to spend, find that little bit of happiness through products - through retail therapy," tech commentator Jordan Tini told Newshub.

And Sunday marks the peak of the big sale season, which began with Singles Day and Cyber Monday in November while Aucklanders endured their extended lockdown.

"It shouldn't have taken a lockdown to help us spend better. I do think people are being a bit more wary about how they're spending their dollar, where they're spending their dollar, and who they're giving that to," Tini said.

Searching for the best discounts on offer is also fuelling the shopping frenzy, with some Kiwis Newshub spoke to reporting savings of between $100 and $200.

But price and product comparison website, PriceSpy, has found one in five items are more expensive this Boxing Day than in 2020 - another thing the pandemic is responsible for.

"Hopefully once [travel] increases, once we see a bit more mail coming through, we might see prices start dropping off again and look more reasonable," Tini said.

When it comes to the most sought-after products Kiwis have been searching for online, 2021 is the Year of the Air Fryer - with headphones and perfume also in high demand this festive season.

Meanwhile, the experts say we're shopping less, but spending more at the till. Even though Boxing Day may not be as popular as it once was, there is still some good news for retailers, as according to PriceSpy, the amount people are spending on Boxing Day is increasing. 

On December 26 last year, survey respondents said the average amount splashed out was $1203.30 - up almost two-fifths (38 percent) compared to the year prior (at $871.60).

"[Spending] was up 38 percent from the previous year, so it'll be interesting to see how much people actually spend with Boxing Day this year."

If the scenes of gridlocked traffic heading to the mall are anything to go by, expect another jump in spending figures when they are revealed on Monday.