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UPS Forecasts Record-Breaking Holiday Returns Volume

This holiday season UPS is forecasting yet another record-breaking year for e-commerce returns – illustrating how e-commerce is continuing to change the way people shop for the holidays.

In December, consumers will ship via UPS more than 1 million return packages back to retailers daily, a pace that is expected to last into early January. An initial spike in returns is expected the week before Christmas, with 1.6 million packages being returned each day the week of Dec. 16. This first spike will likely be driven by retailer promotions, which will prompt shoppers to buy gifts early – both for their loved ones and for themselves.

The second and largest spike in returns, which UPS dubs “National Returns Day,” is expected to occur on Jan. 2 with a whopping 1.9 million packages returned through the UPS network – a 26 percent increase from last year’s peak returns day.

“As retailers start preparing for the busy holiday season, they should certainly be factoring returns into their business plans,” said Kevin Warren, UPS’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Gone are the days where returns were isolated to January – today’s empowered consumers will be sending packages back to retailers all season long.”

Research continues to show that to succeed in e-commerce retailers must offer comprehensive returns services. UPS’s 2019 Pulse of the Online Shopper study found that:  

  • 73% of shoppers surveyed said the overall returns experience impacts their likelihood to purchase from a retailer again.
  • 68% of survey respondents agree that the returns experience shapes their overall perceptions of a retailer.
  • 42% said free return shipping contributes most to a positive returns experience.
  • Top elements of a great returns experience include proactive communications, flexible return options and transparency.

“If retailers want to be considered a ‘Returns Rockstar’ this holiday season, they will need to be prepared to offer a seamless, hassle-free returns experience to consumers.” continued Warren.

“UPS has a whole portfolio of products that can help simplify holiday returns for consumers and retailers alike.”

Customers making returns this holiday season can take advantage of a network of more than 15,000 UPS Access Point locations in the U.S. for secure, convenient returns. UPS’s Access Point network was recently expanded to include Michaels and CVS stores, making it easier than ever pick up and return holiday orders.

With more than 4,800 The UPS Store locations included in the UPS Access Point network, The UPS Store offers customers and businesses convenience and great service for their packing, shipping and returns needs, as well as holiday printing for holiday cards, calendars, invitations and more.