Faced with data that pointed to a post-holiday shipping crush, shipping companies have been preparing for this season of returns for months. UPS says that this week will break the company's record for the highest weekly total of returns. An estimated 8.75 returns will be entrusted to UPS this week. That's a 23% increase over last holiday season's biggest returns week.
As e-commerce adoption grew by leaps and bounds, so too did demand for delivery, and for convenient returns options. The growth of e-commerce increased behaviors seen only in online shopping – behaviors that contribute to the much higher rate of returns for online orders versus in-store purchases. For example, bracketing occurs when shoppers order multiple sizes of an item with the intention of returning all but the one that fits best.
The good news, according to John Morris, executive managing director of CBRE's Americas industrial and logistics operation, is the returns are coming after months of capacity building on the part of logistics players, he said in early December.