Despite flocking to Boxing Day sales shoppers appear to be circumspect with where they are spending their money, according to December figures released by Paymark.
The total spend for December crept up a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent from November on the Paymark network which processes 75 percent of the nation's electronic transactions.
Shoppers spent 13.4 percent more in the Boxing Day sales last year than they did in 2011, but the seasonally adjusted spend for the month increased 4.3 percent year-on-year.
"While we appreciate that it's still tough out there for some retailers, the seasonally adjusted numbers paint a more realistic picture of what's going on and reflect what we think is a encouraging finish to 2012," said Paymark's sales and marketing head Paul Whiston.
Appliance stores (10.3 percent) and hardware stores (9.2 percent) enjoyed strong growth as shoppers looked to make the most of cost-cutting on electronic goods and DIY purchases for summer projects.
Elsewhere cafes and restaurants, liquor stores, pet shops and department stores also enjoyed healthy growth.
Over the year, spending on the network rose 3.3 percent in value and 3.2 percent by the number of transactions.
"These annual growth rates remain below those recorded before 2008, which is indicative of the slower economic growth since the global financial crisis," Mr Whiston said.
He said spending for the last three months of the year increased month-on-month and was hopeful of the momentum continuing in 2013.
Key figures for 2012:
- 932 million transactions
- Total: $46.5 billion
- Average transaction: $49.92.