With Christmas fast approaching consumers nationwide are heading to hardware stores in droves in search of the perfect gift _ though a local business owner says he is still waiting.
Figures from Paymark, which processes 75 per cent of the country's electronic transactions, show a slight rise in spending nationwide during November.
Year-on-year spending is up 4.6 per cent, and up 1 per cent from October. Purchases at hardware stores however, are up significantly _ with a 10.4 per cent year-on-year increase.
Hammer Hardware Rotorua owner Carl Mandeno said he hadn't noticed any great rush yet as sales for DIY projects were still flat.
"Where it will be up will be in the Christchurch area where there is more spending being done.''
Mr Mandeno said he expected the rush to come later this year because of the way the big day fell _ "people will be relying on their last payment''.
While there were no hot sellers at this stage, Mr Mandeno said he expected to see a rise in gift vouchers and Lotto tickets be cause of people's "limited funds''.
The Paymark figures are evidence the festive season is finally upon us. Spending at cafes and restaurants is up 9.3 per cent and liquor retailers enjoyed a 10 per cent surge.
Paymark spokesman Paul Whiston said the increase in pre-Christmas spending followed the same pattern of recent years.
"We have seen the usual lift in spending from mid-November and the last seven days of the month were up 10.4 per cent as compared to the last seven days of October.
While this shows an improvement on recent months, the increase can in part be attributed to November having one more Friday than November in 2011.''
Despite the buoyant figures, some retailers were still finding it tough, Mr Whiston said.
"Based on historic figures, we expect the real rush is yet to come. Between 2007 and 2011 spending jumped an average of 27 per cent from November to December as Kiwis ramped up their card usage in anticipation of Christmas.''
Other sectors to experience a lift above the 4.6 per cent national average included automotive outlets (up 7.9 per cent) and clothing shops (up 6.5 per cent).
This was perhaps fuelled by those looking for the perfect Christmas party outfit, Mr Whiston said.
"It's great to see Kiwis getting into the Christmas spirit and spending across a diverse range of sectors. We hope to see retailers reaping the benefits in the coming weeks.''
Waikato enjoyed the highest regional growth in spending between November 2011 and last month (up 6.5 per cent), followed by Canterbury (up 5.7 per cent) which has been leading the charge since June.
NZ Retailers Association chief executive John Albertson said the figures were encouraging.
There was already good feedback from retailers, though this year would not be a "huge bonanza''.
"Cautiously optimistic might be the way to put it. It's positive, but it's not the sort of stuff you're going to go out and dance naked in the street [over].''
Bay of Plenty:
2011: 4.92m transactions, $251.1m spent
2012: 5.08m transactions (3.2 per cent increase), $257.6m spent (2.6 per cent increase)
2011: 76.87m transactions, $3.902b
2012: 80.8m transactions (5.1 per cent increase), $4.082b spent (up 4.6 per cent)