New records set on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is often one of the busiest shopping days of the year and 2019 was no different.

While final sales figures are yet to be collated, New Zealand shoppers are on track to be close to the record figures from Friday of $297.5 million for the day.

The busiest time of day passed with a peak of 199 transactions per second at 12:09pm. That’s up from the previous peak of 182 transactions per second set last year on December 22.

Paymark CMO Maxine Elliott says this represents a new record for the number of transactions per second the Paymark network has ever processed.

"Each year Christmas Eve really gives us a good workout. Throughout the year we typically see around 60 transactions per second and during December we saw that jump up hugely."

At its peak, Paymark handled more than 679,000 transactions an hour.

"Even at these extreme transaction per second figures, our network is still operating well below its maximum capacity, proving we are a world-class example of a payments processing network that is second to none, making sure kiwi businesses can take payments securely."

Paymark’s network processes EFTPOS transactions for more than 70 per cent of New Zealand’s retailers with more than a billion transactions being processed each year.

Paymark reached a new daily peak last Friday of $297.5 million but processed another large sum of $284.9 on Monday. For some merchant groups, though, yesterday was the peak day. Groups recording new highs included supermarkets (up 3.4 per cent on their previous 2018 high), specialised food shops (+11.1 per cent), department stores (+3.1 per cent) and recreational goods retailers (+12.7 per cent).

Interestingly, spending growth was very strong in each of the major three city regions, suggesting many families are yet to hit the holiday resorts. Spending on Monday was 14.2 per cent above the same Monday (Christmas Eve) of 2018 nationally but 15.8 per cent higher across the combined three regions of Auckland/Northland, Wellington and Canterbury.

The running pre-Christmas spend, at $8602 million since November 13, 2019, has already surpassed the total for last Christmas now and was racing even higher in the lead up to the big day.

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