Bargain hunters were apparently out in force on Boxing Day, with some of the country’s leading banks reporting a considerable rise in sales compared to the previous year.

Among them is National Australia Bank, which told the ABC that transactions through Eftpos, ATM and credit card terminals were up 30 per cent on 2011.

More than 3.8 million transactions were completed through its equipment throughout the day, with a high of 100 per second reached at peak time – or around 13:00 AEST.

This year it seems that consumers are carrying out more of their purchases using plastic cards as they look to make the most of post-Christmas discounts.

Ivan Cohoun, economist at ANZ, highlighted that retailers may not be in for the strong post-Christmas profits that they are expecting.

He pointed out that around a third of the whole year’s retail spending takes place over December, but goods are generally cheaper, therefore putting pressure on profits.

Mr Cohoun commented: “The comments from the different retailers are suggesting that there have been good volumes but, of course, after Christmas, it’s normally at reasonably discounted prices.

“So that doesn’t necessarily suggest the consumer is being very confident, but continuing to search for bargains.”

He admitted that conditions had appeared to improve around Christmas and Boxing Day, but only time will tell whether this becomes a long term trend.

If the Australian National Retailers Association and GE Capital Christmas Retail Survey is anything to go by, many of the transactions on Boxing Day will have been for those between the ages of 18 and 24.

The poll found that Generation Y is on the lookout for a bargain, meaning that many of them were planning on leaving gift buying until after Christmas to secure the best deals.