Boxing Day bonanza as card use jumps 30%
The post-Christmas sales have generated a big rise in credit card transactions. Photo: Karleen Minney
Boxing Day transactions have risen by about 30 per cent from last year, with just under four million withdrawals processed, the National Australia Bank says, bringing some Christmas joy for the embattled retail sector.
The bank said it registered more than 3.8 million ATM, EFTPOS, debit and credit card transactions yesterday, at a peak rate of about 100 a second. The Boxing Day spike is an increase from NAB transactions over the past year, which grew at a rate of 15 per cent.
But an NAB spokesman said the year-on-year growth could also be a reflection of the increasing use of cards over cash for shoppers.
The data came as the consumer discretionary sector on the ASX200 rose 0.9 per cent this afternoon. David Jones shares were up 2.1 per cent in afternoon trade, Myer stocks lifted by 3.4 per cent and Harvey Norman rose by 1.6 per cent.
In 2011, Boxing Day transactions hovered just below three million and at a peak rate of about 80 a second.
Shoppers were wielding their plastic at the highest volumes ever recorded by NAB on Christmas Eve, with a peak of 206.58 transactions per second. December 20 was the busiest day during the Christmas period, with a total of 7.7 million transactions processed at a peak rate of 181.76 per second.
Ingrid Just of consumer watchdog Choice said shoppers were moving away from carrying lots of cash, were using EFTPOS more and were also purchasing more online using their cards.
"Bricks and mortar stores - some of the big department stores like Myer and David Jones - are really throwing a lot of money at their online business. They were offering Boxing Day sales on Christmas Day in the evening [online], and really using that as a foot in the door," Ms Just said.
"I don't think we've seen that before. Additionally, we're seeing non-retail businesses, like airlines, starting to get into the Boxing Day sales through their online channels. The traditional door-busting sales have started to bleed into online in a serious way."
The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) projected that a total of $14.8 billion was expected to be spent in the post-Christmas trade.
NSW shoppers were forecast to spend $4.5 billion, Victorians about $3.7 billion and Queenslanders about $3 billion.
ARA's executive director, Russell Zimmerman, said retailers focused strongly on providing good customer service to encourage shoppers to keep spending in physical stores.
Mr Zimmerman, who spoke to various retail staff working during the Boxing Day sales yesterday, said the positive feedback he received ''showed how retail was engaging with the consumer and how they were really out there trying to get the dollars into the tills and engage with the consumer at the bricks-and-mortar level''.
EFTPOS chief executive Bruce Mansfield said his organisation was seeing a trend towards debit and EFTPOS that was expected to continue through the festive period.
"Using EFTPOS for purchases at this time of year helps many Australians take control of their spending by enabling them to access their own money at the checkout," he said.