UPS: “National Returns Day” Expected To Hit New Record

  • In December, more than 1 million returns occurred each day before Christmas
  • 1.4 million returns expected on National Returns Day, Jan. 3, a fifth consecutive annual record, up 8% from prior year

Record breaking Black Friday and Cyber Week e-commerce sales jumpstarted the holiday returns season, with a larger flood of packages going back to retailers, even while many presents sat under the tree, according to UPS (NYSE:UPS).

“While the day after Christmas used to be reserved for long return lines at department stores, the growth of e-commerce has changed when and how consumers return gifts,” said Alan Gershenhorn, Chief Commercial Officer. “A customer-friendly returns program is now an essential part of any successful e-commerce program, and UPS continues to expand its suite of innovative solutions to help shippers. This season, UPS added Returns Manager, a free platform that allows e-commerce merchants to customize return shipments according to their   e-tailer policy.”

In December 2017, consumers shipped more than 1 million returns packages to retailers daily, a pace expected to last into early January 2018. On UPS National Returns Day, predicted to be Jan. 3, the count is expected to peak at 1.4 million packages, up 8% from a year ago and marking a fifth-consecutive yearly record. The returns delivered in 2017 are part of the 750 million packages UPS is projected to deliver between Thanksgiving and New Year Eve, a nearly 40 million increase from last year.

According to the 2017 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper™ study, 75% of consumers have shipped returns back to the retailer, an increase of seven points from 2016. Also:

  • 79% of those 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;
  • Top elements also include an easy-to-return online experience and a no-questions-asked policy.