The American shopping phenomenon Black Friday has been embraced by Kiwis. Mall carparks were jammed and sales expected to jump by more than 10 per cent on last year.

A Facebook user reported carparks at Westfield St Lukes overflowing and "absolute madness" in surrounding streets, with cars trapping each other in and a line of shoppers inside Briscoes that swept around the store.

Today is also busy, despite the rain, as most retailers extend their Black Friday discounts.

Maleka, a Briscoes duty manager who gave only her first name, told the Herald the sale was "going great".

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"But at the moment I don't have time to speak any more. I have enough to do."

Retail New Zealand data show that last year's Black Friday sales were up 10 per cent on turnover the previous year. Public affairs general manager Greg Harford said indications were that sales would jump by at least that much again this year.

"We are not surprised that it has been pretty manic," Harford said. "It's good for shoppers who are getting great deals and for retailers."

Auckland's wet Saturday was likely to favour malls where shoppers could stay dry.

The number of stores taking part had gone from just a handful five years ago to almost all retailers, big and small.

Harford said the growth was driven by demand from the public who had got used to getting Black Friday bargains shopping online overseas.

Black Friday, the day after America's Thanksgiving, is regarded as the first day of the Christmas shopping season, and is followed by Cyber Monday, another discount day.

The name Black Friday refers to shops' accounts going from red to "in the black".

A survey by price comparison website PriceSpy revealed Black Friday was popular among Kiwis; 53 per cent of those surveyed intended to shop in stores and 47 per cent planned to nab deals online.

New Zealanders spent $219 million on Black Friday last year, up 32.8 per cent from the Friday a week earlier, according to Paymark, and the day was 188 per cent more popular than normal Fridays during the months of September and October last year.

Black Friday through the weekend and into Cyber Monday is a significant four-day calendar event in the US and much of the western world, and is increasingly being embraced Down Under.

Most retailers are known to heavily discount product on Black Friday, and use the day to get rid of unwanted stock.

About 35 per cent of Kiwis say they intend to buy something on Black Friday, and 70 per cent say they are looking to spend up to $300, according to the survey.

Most Kiwis intend to bag discounts at The Warehouse on Friday, or at online behemoth Amazon. JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming and Farmers are other popular picks.

About 20 per cent of Kiwis expect savings of up to 30 per cent on Black Friday and 42 per cent expect savings of between 30 and 60 per cent, the survey shows.

Most Kiwis want to nab savings on gadgets and electronics, 39 per cent want fashion and clothing items and 33 per cent want health and beauty products.

While Black Friday offers savings, Price Spy New Zealand country manager Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett said consumers should be aware of price increases before Black Friday to make discounts appear more appealing.

"What appears to be a really good percentage saving from a retailer on Black Friday may not be. This is because some products receive a price hike ahead of a big sale day, so the percentage discount appears to be more attractive than what it actually is," Matinvesi-Bassett said.

"Based on last year's figures, we found 10 per cent of all products listed on PriceSpy received an increase in price on Black Friday. One way to avoid getting caught out by price inflations is to keep an eye on the historical price of a product."