New Zealanders raced to the shops on Christmas eve for last-minute shopping but numbers show there were fewer purchases than last year.
Figures from Worldline show there were 660,815 transactions made between noon and 1pm yesterday, which was the day’s busiest hour.
During the same time last year there were 678,812 – and a record was set in 2019 with 679,436 transactions between noon and 1pm.
In the peak minute on this year’s Christmas eve, at 12.13pm, 11,277 transactions were made.
Worldline NZ’s head of data George Putnam said overall data shows that retail shoppers have spent more this year than before despite the lower figures.
“At the beginning of this week, with five days of pre-Christmas trading left, Worldline data showed that spending levels at core retail stores were trending well above levels at the same time last year,” Putnam said.
During a single second at 12.06:30pm, 193 transactions were made, but the record was set last year with a peak 204 transactions at 12.16:45pm.
In 2020, a record $4.9 billion was spent through Worldline at the core retail stores in the six weeks before Christmas.
As of December 19 this year, the figure was already tracking at $4.3b for the same 37-day period.
“We will have a full breakdown of the numbers for the last full week of core retail selling prior to Christmas on the Monday after Boxing Day, but at this stage it looks like 2021 remains on track to see a new record spend for pre-Christmas shopping in New Zealand,” Putnam said.
Earlier this week, Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford told the Herald overall it had been a “slow Christmas” for in-store shopping compared with previous years.
This was on top of an extended lockdown for Auckland retailers and as costs continued to rise across the sector, he said.
Adding to the cost was having to employ additional staff or security workers to help with Covid-19 compliance.
“We had a big rush when Auckland came out of lockdown but since then things have been quite patchy.”
He pointed to concern regarding Covid-19 in the community and the fact many people got used to the more transactional online shopping experience, which meant people weren’t picking up things that weren’t necessarily on their list.
Harford said people were again shopping earlier and Black Friday had become the “big shopping day” of the year.
Yesterday, Foodstuff’s corporate affairs manager Emma Wooster said staff at its stores were run off their feet getting ready for the festive season, and sales of brie and camembert had tripled in the past two weeks.
“When the doors close tonight, we’re on track to have sold over a million corn on the cob over the last couple of weeks across Pak’nSave, New World and Four Square stores in the North Island,” she said.
“That’s the equivalent of 57 ears of sweetcorn every second.”
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