Survey says: Returns to skyrocket

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Holiday shopping hasn’t fallen off this year because of the pandemic like some early prognosticators believed it would, although online shopping and BOPIS options have surpassed in-store browsing and purchasing. In fact, according to Adobe’s data overall ecommerce sales increased by about 50% YoY during the first week in December.

But, there could be a slump coming for merchants and brands post-holiday in the form of returns. According to new ShipStation data 69% of shoppers say they’ll do more holiday gift returns this year than in 2019, primarily because they – and others – have done so much online shopping. Things like fit or color choice could be reasons merchants see more returns in 2020 as many shoppers have flocked to online options for gift buying.

About one-third (32%) of those who say they plan to make returns after the holidays say they’ll do so in-store, but 68% say they’ll stick with return-mail options. Most (69%) say they’ll make their returns within a week of the holiday.

Other interesting findings from the report include:
• 73% expect brands to provide free shipping for returns
• 76% ‘are more likely’ to shop with merchants offering free return options
• 1 in 3 say their choice in where to buy hinges on return policies

Because of consumers’ changing wants regarding shipping and return policies, ShipStation offers this advice: Streamline the shipping process, make it clear when cut-off times are for deliveries, and give plenty of shipping options so that consumers feel empowered.



Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with, NBC News,, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.