Black Friday sales could be "higher than Boxing Day" as Bay retailers prepare for an influx of shoppers.
Hopes for a much-needed post lockdown boost to the industry are already under way as shopping malls report an early Christmas rush, which is expected to peak tomorrow.
Black Friday is an informal name for the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States and is regarded as the start to the country's Christmas shopping season.
But the American shopping holiday is gaining traction in New Zealand with Bay retailers also marking it.
NZ Retail chief executive Greg Harford said Black Friday was "huge" internationally and had become a big fixture on the Bay's retail calendar.
"Tauranga and Rotorua consumers are already making the most of deals available online, and it's likely that sales across the region on Friday will be higher than on Boxing Day.
"That reflects a general trend towards shopping at the end of November as consumers look for deals to kick-start their Christmas shopping."
Harford said there would be great deals available from many retailers in the next few days, but there were some challenges with getting stock into the country as a result of Covid-19.
"This means that customers might not have the same choices within product ranges that they would normally expect – but the deals will still be there."
Palmers Bethlehem owner Shane Smith was expecting a busy Black Friday, with the store's Black Five Day Sale running from November 27 to December 1.
"We've got everything from specials on Weber barbecues, spa pools, trees and shrubs, roses - right across the garden centre we're going to have specials running from our seedlings to in-store gifts."
Smith said Palmers launched Black Friday sales for the first time last year but have ramped sales up this year.
"It was very successful last year ... I think as retailers we've got to be part of it. It's created a life of its own and we need to be in there.
"To some degree, it pulls some December sales forward. It is an important part of the retailers' toolbox right now."
The sale was continuing at Palmers Rotorua and owner Darryl Pierce expected business to ramp up as it was the first time Weber barbecues had a sale this year.
"There will be great deals for customers and it creates good cash flow for the businesses.
"I hope the public get out and support the local businesses who are working hard to try and survive and do their best."
Jannine and Rod Pearce, owners of Rotorua Jewellers and Te Puke Jewellers, were also gearing up for a busy weekend.
The business was offering 30 per cent off jewellery and 20 per cent off watches on Friday and Saturday.
"It's really just to encourage people to shop local," Jannine said. "It has been a tough year but in saying that we have been really heartened by the local support."
Jannine said she had noticed Black Friday sales were big in major chain stores and decided to "give it a good nudge" themselves.
"This year supply has been an issue but we've managed to get good amount of new product in and have been busy manufacturing some of our own too.
"We've all been hit pretty hard taking nearly two-and-a-half months of income out of 12 months. It's a chance to recoup some of that [income]."
Furniture Zone marketing manager and co-ordinator Tristan Tolley said the company was hosting a Bed Bash at all its stores nationwide, including Tauranga and Rotorua.
The sales included mattresses as low as $99 or $500 off queen mattresses.
"From a marketing point of view, stores are all looking for anything to get people in the door and increase foot traffic again.
"Also as a westernised country, we're going to follow in the footsteps of the culture setting country which is the United States."
Tolley said Black Friday and the busy shopping season ahead were going to be important for Kiwi businesses in order to keep local money local.
Blended Eatery owner Toni Frampton is jumping on board the Black Friday sales by running a social media giveaway of four of her popular raw slices.
"Black Friday is a good time to support local businesses and get a bit more exposure," she said.
"I can't wait to get out and do my shopping as well and support local. I know it's American but with so many businesses struggling or closing down after lockdown the best thing to do is share the love."
The Cottage owner Chantelle Boyd has a jewellery set to give away and many more instore specials on Black Friday.
"We want to share the love."
Float Fitness owner Louise Kirkham admitted she was reluctant to take part in the sales but decided to after seeing the demand for it.
"I sold heaps last year. People love a good sale, especially now with it being so close to Christmas."
The business' Black Friday sales included a 12-class pass discounted from $240 to $199, an annual pass price drop from $1250 to $999 as well as discounts on massages.
"Everyone is looking for a sale at the moment. Being able to offer something to current and possibly new members is really important."
Bayfair Shopping Centre manager Steve Ellingford said the centre was experiencing an early Christmas rush and expected things to only get busier.
"We expect it to ramp up with Black Friday, which is growing in popularity each year.
"The American shopping holiday is gaining traction with New Zealand retailers marking it as the unofficial point where Christmas shopping kicks into high-gear."
Ellingford said some of the shopping centre's retailers had even extended their Black Friday offers to be week-long.
"Considering the year we've had, early indications suggest these shopping events will provide a much-needed boost for the retail sector as we head into Christmas."
Tauranga Crossing centre manager Andrew Wadsworth said the shopping mega-mall's retailers were embracing Black Friday this year "like never before".
"This is a combination of combating the challenging year that they have had and a sign that Black Friday has become more mainstream.
"We've seen a growing interest in Black Friday every year and this year is going to be even bigger than last.
"Our retailers are preparing for a massive day of sales with compelling Black Friday specials."
Wadsworth said it was great to see Kiwis quickly adopting the popular international shopping day, however, Christmas Eve and Boxing Day were still the most popular shopping dates for the centre.
Papamoa Plaza centre manager David Hill said Black Friday was growing.
"It's up there with all of the other sales days. It's certainly bigger than an average Friday but nothing will beat our Boxing Day."
Fraser Cove asset manager Marie Mischewski said stores had been promoting their Black Friday sales.
"There is no doubt as a nation we love the word sale and ... we still love finding that bargain."