New Zealand retailers are gearing up for Black Friday and Cyber Monday - two of the biggest shopping days leading up to Christmas.

The events, which began in the US, are a shopaholic's dream, with retailers cutting prices on stock across their stores and online.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and the following Monday are considered the start of the US Christmas shopping season but the phenomenon has begun to spread around the world and New Zealand retailers are jumping on the bandwagon.

According to Google New Zealand, online searches for 'Black Friday Sales' jumped by more than 75 per cent in New Zealand last year, and interest continues to build.

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Retail NZ public affairs general manager Greg Harford said consumers were increasingly looking for sales leading up to Christmas, with the event giving shoppers a chance to prepare earlier.

The event has yet to reach the frenzied hype seen in the US or the UK where footage of chaotic and occasionally violent scenes has emerged in recent years, but the number of kiwi brands joining in was growing Harford said.

"We're seeing in the last couple of years a number of retailers have been embracing the opportunity to have a sale in the pre-Christmas period, and that has manifested itself in some great deals for consumers coming out at this time of year," Harford said.

"It is certainly becoming more popular and I think consumers are increasingly looking for those opportunities to hit the shops at the end of November and this is a good opportunity to do it."

Gadgets and toys are being touted as the big drawcards this year, with Hatchimals, Shopkins and Paw Patrol popular items for kids. Virtual reality will also be in demand with gaming gear such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift high on the wish list for shoppers.

The Warehouse has been running Red Friday, its version of Black Friday, deals for four years, with sales growing year-on-year.

This year the retailer's online site shows tents, iPads, TV, games and toys all discounted.

Harvey Norman is also running a Black Friday sale and has advertised a Sony 65" HD Smart 3D TV discounted to $1,948, a saving of $507.

Noel Leeming has tablets, headphones and other items discounted on its online store in a Black Friday special.

Apple New Zealand is offering a "one-day shopping event" where customers can receive a gift card worth up to $215 with the purchase of selected Apple gifts.

Air New Zealand is also joining in, offering a number of deals coinciding with Thanksgiving in the US.

Grabaseat would be offering thousands of domestic and international fares tomorrow, with domestic fares from as little as $19 one way and international fares from as little as $99 one way. Harford said as the event continued to grow in New Zealand, retailers needed to be aware of the opportunity.

"I think there's certainly increasing customer expectation around sales in this period and a lot of that is informed by offshore," Harford said.

"The fact that people have information about what's happening abroad and can access a lot of these sales out of the states over the internet means retailers need to be looking at whether a sale over this period suits their business model."

In the US, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals have begun to stretch out beyond the day itself, with many retailers using the event as a way to bring in sales up to several weeks before the day.

According to The National Retail Federation in the US, sales in the last two months of this year are likely to hit US$936.7 billion, which is a 3.6 per cent increase over the same period in 2015.

Around 59 per cent of Americans said they planned to shop between Thanksgiving Day and the following Sunday, according to the Federation.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday
• Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are an American retail phenomenon the day after Thanksgiving and the following Monday. It launches the Christmas shopping season with big in-store discounts.

• New Zealand retailers have caught on, and this year Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming and The Warehouse have taken part with big, widely advertised Black Friday deals.

• Retail experts say Kiwi shoppers are increasingly embracing the concept.