Some 1.4 million packages are expected to be sent back to retailers on Jan. 3, according to UPS Inc., which has dubbed the massive return-to-sender day “National Returns Day.” The anti-climactic Internet retail holiday tops a record December of package returns, as consumers shipped backed more than 1 million packages per day during the month.
“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,” UPS Chief Commercial Officer Alan Gershenhorn said in a statement.
People are also becoming increasingly familiar with the online order-return process, as 75% of consumers have sent back a package to a retailer this year, according to the company.
Estimates vary, but digital analytics firm eMarketer is forecasting e-commerce sales for November and December to fall just shy of $107 billion, climbing 16% over last year’s total and representing 11.5% of all holiday sales.
As far as returns go, this season’s National Returns Day will also grow measurably, jumping 8% over last year, according to UPS’ calculations.
While not welcome news for retailers looking to cash in on a strong holiday season, the annual package return extravaganza means even more business for UPS. Including returns, UPS is projecting it will deliver 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year Eve, which is up 40 million packages from last year.