Shopping at Tauranga's Boxing Day Sales was "absolute mayhem" with thousands of shoppers snapping up some of the best deals in the Bay.
Bayfair Shopping Centre had more than 1000 shoppers through the doors every 15 minutes, centre manager Steve Ellingford said.
"It's a lot different to last year, a lot bigger," he said.
As of 2pm, around 20,000 shoppers had visited the centre, he said.
Ellingford said traditionally Boxing Day was the biggest day in the retail calendar, but the shoppers were likely to continue flocking to the sales over the weekend.
"Weather always plays a factor, but we should have a good weekend," he said.
He said the extra stores and the new dining precinct in the shopping centre made a difference for foot traffic as well.
Typo Bayfair store manager Courtney Flavell said it had been "really busy" since they opened at 8am.
"It's been pretty mad since we opened the door," she said.
People had been waiting outside for the store to open, Flavell said.
"Twenty people pretty much walked in in one hit."
She expected the day to be busy all the way up to closing, with Bayfair's late night shopping on until 9pm.
Shopper Morgan Anderson, 20, said she had planned to come into Bayfair for shoes and a present for her niece but had got caught up in the excitement of the sales.
She wouldn't be going anywhere else, however.
"I don't really want to ... just too tired," she said.
Pāpāmoa Plaza manager David Hill said it was a similar situation for it, with a slow start in the morning leading to "mayhem" around 9.30am, just after stores opened.
There were "people everywhere".
"Then it just got busier, when lunchtime hit," he said. "It's just gone from frantic to mayhem, which is great."
Hill said while there were "some" queues, he felt some people might have had a sleep-in.
"By the time nine, 9.30 came around, the place was just heaving with people."
Tauranga Crossing's centre manager, Andrew Wadsworth, said the centre was so busy, it had to open the overflow carpark to accommodate the extra customers.
They also had extra security and cleaning staff in place, he said.
Wadsworth also believed that despite the busy days leading up to Christmas, Boxing Day could "top them all".
One family went to The Warehouse to escape the summer heat and to pick up some bargains.
Trinity Vujcich, 10, and Rebel Vujcich-Ogilvy, 7, were keen to spend their gift cards, which they got as Christmas presents, on lots of toys from The Warehouse Cameron Rd.
Rebel got a Smashers dinosaur toy, chocolate, and some new sandals, while Trinity decided to stick to a Mini Motsu, a small stuffed toy with rainbow fur.
Auckland University's senior lecturer in marketing, Dr Bodo Lang, told the New Zealand Herald there "absolutely" were genuine bargains to be had at the Boxing Day sales.
Good bargains could usually be found in electronics, as retailers tried to get rid of old stock before new models were launched in the new year, he said.
"Of course, there is a danger also of being lured in and buying things that may not be on sale, or where the sales advantage is quite insignificant so it's just a small reduction."
Making unplanned purchases was the biggest danger, Lang said.
"This is a really common occurrence - people get into what's called the flow. They just get into a purchasing mania and buy far more than they planned to buy."
Lang suggested focusing on the things they wanted to purchase, and searching for the best deal on those items. "Discipline is a good thing."