As the Christmas shopping season swings into gear, three in five people will trail from store to store to find the cheapest price.

And not everyone will hate hitting the mall to find that perfect present - 26 per cent of us prefer shopping to outdoors activities, a survey has found.

The online questionnaire, commissioned by retail ratings company Canstar Blue, asked 2500 New Zealanders about their shopping habits and their favourite department stores.

It found 23 per cent of those surveyed call shopping a hobby and more than half consider it an activity for the whole family.


New Zealand Retailers Association chief executive John Albertson said going to the shops at the weekend with the kids in tow had long been a tradition in New Zealand.

"If you just look at the number of families sitting and eating at the food court you can see that," he said.

"But the trouble at this time of year is that you often don't want to have the kids with you because it's them you're buying for."

Mr Albertson said that when shopping for Christmas gifts, it was good to get in as early as possible to avoid disappointment, stress and over-crowded shops.

He also said he wasn't surprised that New Zealanders shopped for a hobby and preferred it to outdoors activities.

"Some people might even consider it an outdoors activity. You can make quite a day of it, walking between shops and carrying shopping bags, it can be quite a workout."

The survey confirmed the suspicion that men are much more reluctant shoppers than women - 18 per cent of the male respondents said they shopped only when their partner made them.

It also gave insight into the trend of trying something in store before buying it cheaper online.

It found that 14 per cent admitted to the shopping tactic which has raised a debate about "fitting fees" being considered by some stores hit hardest by the trend.

Canstar New Zealand's national manager Derek Bonnar said today's retail environment was extremely competitive.

"The strong kiwi dollar and convenience has made online shopping more attractive.

"Younger shoppers, comfortable with technology, are far more likely to try a garment on in a store and then search for a similar item to buy online at a cheaper price."

Mr Bonnar said this was becoming a challenge for today's "bricks and mortar" retailers.

The department stores consumer satisfaction survey found that Kmart was New Zealanders' favourite department store.

Our shopping habits

I like to get everything I need in one store
Total: 52 per cent. Men: 50 per cent. Women: 54 per cent.

I shop only when my partner makes me
Total: 11 per cent. Men: 18 per cent. Women: 4 per cent.

I consider shopping a hobby
Total: 23 per cent. Men: 16 per cent. Women: 29 per cent.

I prefer shopping to outdoor activities
Total: 23 per cent. Men: 20 per cent. Women: 33 per cent.

I go from store to store to find the cheapest price for a product
Total: 59 per cent. Men: 55 per cent. Women: 63 per cent.