Retailers have got the holiday gift they were hoping for with Boxing Day spending surging by more than 11 per cent.
Figures from Paymark, which has a payment network covering more than three quarters of the country, show $139.5 million was spent on Wednesday.
At first glance that's not much more than the $139 million spent on Boxing Day last year.
But Paymark says the 11.2 per cent rise is because it normalises its results to account for retailers joining and leaving the network.
It’s strong growth, with the last Boxing Day increase from 2016 to 2017 coming in at 6.4 per cent.
There were two-and-a-half million electronic transactions yesterday.
Much of the growth was in Whanganui, where spending was up almost a quarter at 24.2 per cent.
Gisborne had 21.4 per cent growth, while Auckland and Northland notched just 8.8 per cent growth.
Boxing Day is of growing significance to what are known as core retailers, Paymark said.
Taking food and liquor retailers and hospitality outlets out of the equation, spending on the core retail sector was $72.8 million.
That makes it the fourth busiest day of the year for core retailers, passed only in the days before Christmas and it’s more than the $69.7 million spent on Black Friday.
Spending on fast food was up 23.3 per cent, while people spent up large at beauty and hairdressing outlets where spending was up 35.5% from Boxing Day last year.
Paymark says its figures show Boxing Day is still a day of rest for many people with the spending making up only 90 per cent of what’s spent on average on a Wednesday in November.
It says that indicates a big number of non-retail merchants which were either closed, or showing lower levels of activity.
1 NEWS was at Auckland's Sylvia Park yesterday where more than 70,000 people bustled through the Auckland mall.
Traffic also became clogged on the motorway north and south of the mall as people tried to get a rare park to get a Boxing Day bargain.
By Kim Baker Wilson