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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : December 22, 2011

Return $46.28 billion to sender

Buyers remorse and friendly returns policies are being blamed for the record-breaking value of items that consumers will take or send back to retailers this year, according to a new report from the National Retail Federation.

by Helen Leggatt

NRF.gifA revised forecast from the National Retail Federation puts this year's holiday sales at $469 billion, a 3.8% increase over last year and a percentage point above their original estimations.

That's great news for retailers but, as the National Retail Federation also reveals in its latest figures, the volume of returns will also be higher.

In fact, the amount of unwanted merchandise winging its way back to retailers is estimated to be $46.28 billion this year, a record according to the National Retail Federation.

Friendlier returns policies and excessive spending have been blamed for the high rate of returns this year. For retailers there are costs involved including receiving, assessing, re-boxing, re-stocking and reselling the products., which buys returned merchandise from traditional retailers and auctions it to discount and dollar stores, says holiday returns are 15% so far this holiday season, two percentage points higher than last year.

Another phenomenon observed this year is that many consumers are returning items before Christmas Day. Traditionally returns are made after gifts have been given out. This year, it seems, many consumers have been lured by the early and abundant sales only to get home to find they have overspent.

Tags: Christmas shopping, consumer insight, customer service, holiday 2011, holiday sales, retail, retail sales, returns policy

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