Number of packages returned peaks before Christmas

The presents haven't even been opened yet, and a record-setting returns have already happened.

For the past six years, UPS has tracked that National Returns Day happened in January. For the first time ever, it happened this month, instead.

Dawn Wotapka with UPS said there have already been more than 1.5 million returns, partly due to e-commerce making it just as easy to order as to return.

“This year, for the first time ever, it occurred Wednesday. And, that’s kind of showing us just how deeply the Internet is reshaping e-commerce,” said Wotapka.

She said these returns are included in the 800 million packages UPS anticipates delivering this holiday season. Returns are still expected to hit 1.3 million packages on January 3rd.

Wotapka said pre-Christmas returns were due to more time between now and Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales were available before the big shopping day.

“Which gives consumers plenty of times to order, shop, return and order again,” said Wotapka.

She added Hannukah was early this year, too...which probably had an effect, as well.

Research continues to show that to succeed in e-commerce retailers must offer comprehensive returns services. UPS’s Pulse of the Online Shopper™ study found that:

  • 75% of consumers have shipped returns back to the retailer;
  • 79% of e-commerce shoppers surveyed said free shipping on returns is important when selecting an online retailer;
  • 44% said the top issue encountered when returning an item online is paying for return shipping;
  • and
  • Top elements of a great returns experience include an easy-to-return online experience and a no-questions-asked policy.


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