Boxing Day: Consumers rush to closest shopping centres to snatch bargains, others sell unwanted gifts online in 'Kiwi tradition'

New Zealanders have been warned to reign in our spending as the cost of living bites but that didn't stop hundreds of thousands of shoppers from descending upon malls around the country in search of a Boxing Day bargain. 

Whether it was 30, 40, or 50 percent off, that four-letter "sale" word was on the front of almost every store. 

"There are so many sales going on, I can't really tell what I want," one shopper told Newshub. 

Additional staff and parking spaces were in place at Westfield Newmarket as the Auckland mall braced for the influx of customers. 

"We're expecting hundreds of thousands of customers across our centres in New Zealand. It was definitely busy as soon as we opened our doors," Westfield senior brand experience manager Penelope Tsitsiras said.

But instead of all-out chaos, there was a steady stream of shoppers spread out across the day with many choosing their time slot strategically. 

Consumer New Zealand said while it's easy to get swept up in a buying frenzy, retailers aren't obliged to provide a refund if a customer changes their mind.

The other option? Sell it online.

At least 4,500 items were listed on Trade Me on Monday morning alone - checked in under the category "unwanted gifts".

Trade Me spokesperson Millie Silvester said selling unwanted gifts has become a "Kiwi tradition".

"To list any of those presents that just completely missed the mark."

Unwanted presents included a Pandora bracelet, gifted to someone who is allergic to sterling silver. 

"We've seen 34,000 searches for unwanted gifts, so not only are there thousands of people listing them, but there are thousands of people searching for them," Silvester said.