EL PASO, Texas — Holiday shoppers are expected to spend more on gifts this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The group predicts holiday sales will rise by 3.6 percent this year, with shoppers spending an average of $588.90.
The majority of that money will be spent on family members, with shoppers spending $460.67 on average. Meanwhile, the amount spent on friends, $76.83 on average, and co-workers, $24.75 on average, is expected to stay the same.
The rise in holiday spending comes as consumer confidence numbers jumped to 98, the highest since January 2015, according to the University of Michigan.
At Cielo Vista Mall, retailers say their stores have been packed.
“It's been amazing. We had a lot of great sales here in the store and we've been really, really busy,” said JCPenney Assistant Merchandise Manager Idalia Aguilera. “It's been a great year for us.”
That store alone hired nearly 100 seasonal workers just to keep up with demand.
Meanwhile, the co-owner of a cosmetics kiosk says he expects the holiday shopping havoc to only get worse as the calendar counts down to Christmas.
“It's been really busy. It's starting to pick up; this weekend, I think it's going to be really crazy,” said Pete Hernandez, part owner of Kristals Cosmetics.
He said he thinks last year was a bit busier than this year but sales have been consistent.
“To be honest, we’re in one of the best locations in the mall and the traffic is just starting to pick up,” Hernandez said.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to hit $655.8 billion in 2016. It also anticipates that online shopping will increase between 7 and 10 percent, to $117 billion.
As for seasonal workers, the holiday is expected to create between 640,000 and 690,000 temporary jobs in 2016.