If you thought the shops were insanely busy in these last few days leading up to Christmas, just wait until Boxing Day.

Kiwis are set to fork out more than $200 million on December 26 as we indulge in a bit of retail therapy to recover from the stress of the big day.

Shoppers went on a swipe spree this week, spending more than $282 million electronically on Thursday alone – the first of the three busiest shopping days of the year.

And the madness was set to continue after Christmas with electronic payments company Paymark expecting $229 million to be spent on Boxing Day - up from the $218 million splurged on the same day last year.

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Retail NZ spokesman Greg Harford said Boxing Day was a really important time for retailers to shift excess stock left over from Christmas and for customers to get a good deal.

"Kiwis love to get out and shop. We love looking around for a good deal. Over the last couple of decades Boxing Day sales have become ingrained in the Kiwi shopping psyche.

"The interesting thing about Boxing Day sales is that they have evolved from being just about Boxing Day to starting earlier and earlier. Typically over the last few years we have seen Boxing Day Sales starting on Christmas Eve."

Between midday and 1pm on Friday 612,000 sales were put through Paymark's network, which processes 75 per cent of New Zealand's digital transactions.

At 12.38pm the record for the volume of transactions processed per second was also beaten when it hit 179 - last year, numbers peaked on Christmas Eve at 177 transactions per second.

Figures for the spend through to Christmas Eve are set to be released early next week.

Paymark's sales data also hinted at what Kiwis might find under the Christmas tree with spending at appliance stores up 33 per cent on Thursday compared to the same day last year.

Hardware stores, toy shops and department stores also saw a 14 per cent increase in spending on Thursday compared to December 22 last year.

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But some people's stockings might be empty on Christmas Day with one in 10 Kiwis holding off buying gifts until the Boxing Day sales – up from 7 per cent last year - according to Mastercard New Zealand.

"This year we have seen an increase in the number of people holding off on their shopping to make the most of post-Christmas deals in Boxing Day sales," said Peter Chisnall, Mastercard country manager for New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

"For people who have been eyeing up something specific, the days after Christmas can be a great way to find a good deal, particularly for larger purchases that aren't time sensitive for Christmas Day."

Mastercard New Zealand's survey of more than 1000 Kiwis also revealed that more than 50 per cent of people thought the sales were simply too stressful and just under half of us agreed it was easier to shop online.

Three-quarters of Boxing Day shoppers would scope out the deals online from the comfort of the couch before heading in store or buying online.

"The fact that many New Zealand retailers have websites means people can find deals from the comfort of their own home to avoid the in-store Boxing Day rush, or as they recover from Christmas lunch," said Chisnall.