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Digging Deeper: Shopping shift this season of giving

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Shopping shift

Shopping shift this season of giving

MADISON (WKOW) — The hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season is here, or is it?

"The production rate is down and even when they do get finished, you encounter the shipping problem," says Nancy Wong, professor of consumer science at UW-Madison.

She says with shipping delays and shortages around the world, you'll have trouble getting your hands on a lot of things.

"Toys, electronics for sure and clothing, anything that is produced overseas."

That's why many families are getting creative this holiday season.

Shannon Case makes personalized coupons for her three daughters that they can redeem all year long, while getting some quality time with Mom.

"Dinner date with Mom, here's a 12 pack of soda of your choice," says Shannon, as she rifled through the coupons ."I like this one, a candy bar of your choice, not the king size though."

Her daughter, Elizabeth appreciates the gift. "There's no expiration date, that's exciting. No daunting expiration date coming at you."

"People are buying more conscientiously now, in the sense that people go and shop for vintage, for example, or reusable clothing," says Wong.

That's the route the Probst family is going, shopping for used toys, which experts say is also better for the environment.

"It feels really great to just be able to give those toys a new life and not be harming the environment by pumping out tons more plastic," says mom Erin Probst. "I think there's a lot of commitment to that in the Madison community."

Even with the delays and rising prices, the National Retail Federation expects it to be a record breaking year, because a lot of people are getting their holiday shopping done early.

The National Retail Federation is forecasting sales will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020, meaning consumers will spend up to $859 billion. That breaks down to the average shopper spending about $998 on holiday gifts and other items.

"As a result of this pandemic, for people who are actually able to hold onto their jobs, they've done really well. In fact their savings rates have gone up," says Wong.

But she says that's not the case for everyone, as the gap has widened between the middle and upper class.

"You have two segments of the population that go through this pandemic and changes in their consumption."

She says to navigate the shortages and delays, you can always shop local and support our economy, or create experiences, like Shannon.

"It's always exciting to see what she came up with. I find that the most exciting part," says Elizabeth.