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December 20, 2018 11:30 AM, EST

UPS Holiday Package Returns Hit Peak Before Year End for First Time

UPS Worker Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

UPS Inc. expected to handle a record 1.5 million returns Dec. 19, ahead of its usual early January peak of 1.3 million.

The Atlanta-based shipping company processed more returned holiday packages than in any other 24-hour timeframe. This marked the first time the company’s “National Return Day” has occurred before the end of year.

According to UPS, “Consumers who got a jump on online shopping in the days before Black Friday are expected to begin returning more than 1 million packages each day in December, jump-starting the holiday returns season earlier than ever.”

It wasn’t all about buying for others. Some deals turned out to be too good for consumers to pass up for themselves.

“The spike is driven by self-gifting due to retailer promotions, express shipping for deliveries and returns, simplified returns processes, and advanced restocking and management systems,” the company said.

UPS expects to deliver 800 million packages (including those returned) nationwide this holiday season.

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