The festive shopping season will be "critical" for smaller Bay retailers as they rely on the festive season to replenish cash reserves, business and marketing experts say.
Black Friday marks the start to the Christmas shopping period, during which Bay of Plenty shoppers spent more than $40 million last year.
But this year will be different with some retailers facing challenges of getting stock into the country as a result of Covid-19.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said Black Friday had quickly become a big day on the New Zealand shopping calendar.
"Smaller local retailers absolutely rely on the festive season to replenish their cash reserves to get through the quieter trading months."
Cowley said there was a lot of excitement among business owners who were preparing for the big shopping period.
"Many have been recruiting new staff to help keep up with the demand."
However, he said the biggest concern was the reliability of the supply chain, particularly the backlog of cargo able to be processed through the seaports.
"Everyone will be working hard to ensure Christmas is as much of a success as possible.
"I urge customers to support their local retailers and keep the money in the local economy."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said the pre-Christmas shopping period was taking on even more importance this year than usual.
"This is because of the impact of Covid on retail income during the earlier part of the year.
"Will people spend more because they have more to spend, due to the inability to travel and holiday away from home?
"If the domestic tourism spend is anything to go by, the probable answer to this question is yes, but there is no evidence that the pre-Christmas rush has yet begun."
Heard said there were growing reports of Covid-related stock shortages for the supply of imported goods, which may become a limiting factor for some retailers.
"The Buy Local message appears to be well supported so we think that overall, retailers should be feeling confident."
Toi Ohomai faculty of business, service and design senior academic staff member, James Paterson, said the festive shopping period would be "critical" for Bay retailers.
"Retailers have had a tough year, they really need to look at this as an opportunity to get some good sales.
"Companies that have resisted in the past have done so in their peril. Black Friday needs to be part of their marketing programme."
Paterson said Bay retailers should approach this Black Friday with "lots of big specials".
"There will be a lot of consumers in malls and retailers need to get on board with the concept of Black Friday, because if they don't the retailer next door to them will.
"Embrace it and not be scared of it because of the pandemic, this is the ideal time to get consumers into stores and get them looking around.
"But be prepared, have lots of staff on, keep queues under control, be organised and be ready for it."
Letting shoppers know you had a sale coming up was "critical", he said.
"Retailers need to promote it. If an organisation is giving deals away without advertising they are losing money, but if they advertise the sale they get people to the store.
"The main goal is getting people into the store."
Paterson said it would be awesome if Kiwis did get out and shop because it was great for retailers who had been hurting this year.
"We know that big-ticket items are still selling as interest rates are low and people aren't able to go on holiday, so they are spending that money elsewhere.
"But the people that really need our support is the smaller retailers."
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said Covid-19 had meant more customers were shopping online and this would be the case on Black Friday too.
"Customers going into stores can expect things to be busy, and it's a good idea to remember to scan in with the official Covid-19 Tracer App to help keep everyone safe.
"If you're feeling unwell, please stay home, and do your shopping online instead."
Retail NZ recommends customers shop local online so they get their purchases fast and are covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act.
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."
Paymark figures showed Bay shoppers spent $43.7 million between November 29 and December 1 last year.
NZ Post research predicts residents in the region will spend between $24m and $26m in online shopping in November to December this year.
Chief customer officer Bryan Dobson said NZ Post was expecting online shopping spending growth to continue during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"Last year online shopping on Black Friday increased 27 per cent, but this year Covid has completely changed the way Kiwis shop, with more New Zealanders shopping online than ever before."
NZ Post planned to deliver about 2 million parcels in the week following Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
"Our message to Kiwis is to send on those Christmas presents to your loved ones as early as possible to make sure they arrive under the tree in time."
Fashion Island Shopping Centre manager Roz Irwin said the centre's retailers and eateries were preparing for the "biggest Black Friday yet".
"This event has grown significantly in popularity, year by year," she said.
"This year has seen the best sales I've ever seen from our retailers. The majority are offering incredible storewide sale deals ranging from 30 to 70 per cent off."
Irwin said the centre had prepared for the "busiest Black Friday ever" and had resourced as it would for a traditional Christmas Eve or Boxing Day.
"With only four weeks to go until Christmas, a lot of people see Black Friday sales as a perfect opportunity to get that Christmas shopping done."
The centre's retail trading figures and an increase in foot traffic reflected consumers had a newfound appreciation for shopping instore post lockdown, she said.
"Retail confidence is high for Fashion Island - we are at maximum occupancy with the recent addition of Majestic Nails ... Amazon Outlet store and a large custom-fitted Sheridan Outlet store, which will be opening on December 3."
Shoppers beware: 'It's not cheap if you can't afford it'
Tauranga Budget Advisory Service manager Shirley McCombe is warning shoppers that regardless of how well priced an item is, "it's not cheap if you can't afford it".
"If people are buying on credit cards, store cards or payday type loans, they need to understand that there are additional costs including fees and interest."
McCombe said it was always a struggle for families post-Christmas.
"They are facing the cost of gifts, additional food, holidays and the children returning to school.
"For those who have been impacted by reduced hours or job losses, this will be harder as they carry debt into this expensive time of year."
Her advice to people struggling financially was not to give in to temptation.
"It will cost you far more than the price on the ticket."