As the retail industry powers through its most hectic days of the year, Christmas shoppers seem to be favouring health, fitness and wellness gifts.

Paul Gardner, Scentre Group regional manager, which covers Westfield stores, noted that present buyers were looking to ease some of the seasonal excesses.

"Traditionally a time of year that we overindulge, gifts that encourage healthy habits over the festive season and into 2020, is guaranteed to give the feel-good factor," Gardner said

"This Christmas we've seen a move towards gifts that encourage healthy habits, anything that helps keep your loved ones fit and healthy."


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For children, science, technology, engineering, and maths products - be they low-tech or sophisticated robot sets - were popular.

"With kids heading into the summer break, it's no surprise we're seeing a shift towards hands-on toys that will boost creativity and allow kids to use their imagination," Gardner said.

The old favourites - sports gear, pool toys and scooters - were still high on the agenda.

On the hi-fi list, wireless technology products were popular with fashion accessories such as Gucci iPhone cases and Beats noise-cancelling headphones.

The environment got a nod with sales of reusable keep cups, stainless steel straws and environmentally-friendly clothing popular.

Paul Gardner, Scentre Group regional manager of Westfield Newmarket. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Paul Gardner, Scentre Group regional manager of Westfield Newmarket. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Westfield's stores nationwide have been offering extended trading hours since Monday in the lead-up to Christmas ramped up.

Paymark, which tracks the ringing of the tills, said spending over the week before Christmas was usually 50 per cent higher than other weeks. Department stores, recreational goods shops, clothing outlets and liquor stores would experience some of the biggest uplifts.


Between November 13 and last Monday, spending through Paymark recorded 136 million transactions worth a hefty $6.48 billion.

Still have some Christmas shopping to do? Here's some tips

• Shop during the first and last two hours of each day, that's when most people won't be around.

• Sylvia Park expects its busiest shopping day to be Sunday, December 22, around lunchtime, so avoid shopping then like the plague.

• Plan your visit: Know what you want to buy and where you will buy it from, map out a plan and stick to it.

• Take advantage of extended shopping hours.

• Shop by yourself when able. A shopping partner could distract you from your plan into buying something else or drag you places you don't need to go.


• Of course, there is a way to avoid the carpark meltdown and the Christmas crowds - sort your present shopping online by giving the gift of knowledge and supporting quality journalism with an NZ Herald premium digital subscription. Check out the options here.