After-Christmas shopping rush: High numbers of returns


We’re right on the heels of a record-breaking holiday shopping season. Researchers are saying more shopping, means more returns.

We talked to some shoppers in Huntsville who were planning to make some returns, themselves.  Some shoppers at Bridge Street Shopping Center tell our reporter they came to check out the post-Christmas sales. Others are here on a mission to return an item, replace it, or just get their money back.

Heather Ellenburg says, “Well, I feel it’s wasteful if you keep it and you never use it.”

Autumn Shackleford says, “Well, I like having the money. I’m a broke college student so I like getting my returns on things.”

Ella Olive says, “Well if you can’t wear it, and they don’t have that same item in your size then you can get something else!” 

According to a survey by Oracle, 77% of consumers plan to return some of their gifts, and nearly 20% expect to return more than half. This holiday season, returns are expected to peak Jan. 2 at 1.9 million – a 26% increase from last year.

Heather Ellenburg says, “I bought my younger son khaki pants online from the GAP online, and my sweetheart grew a little too fast.”

And Heather isn’t the only one shopping online for her holiday must-haves. Shoppers spent almost 20 percent more online this year than in 2018. 

She’s bringing her item back to the store, which is a great way to save on shipping for online items.

But, UPS says they expect a record number of returns being shipped back to retailers. The postal service estimates 1.9 million return packages to be shipped on their peak day– Jan. 2– what they call “National Returns Day” .

These days, a fair return policy can make or break a shopping experience for customers. UPS reports, 73% of shoppers say their experience making returns affects their likelihood to buy from a retailer again.

So if you’re planning to return.. 

  • Always check the receipts for the return policy, and bring them with you when you return. 
  • Set reminders on your phone to make sure you bring your stuff back within the return limit. 30 days is typical, but some stores may give 60 days  or more. 
  • If you buy online and want to return, remember, not all retailers include shipping labels. So, always check to see if you can do an in-store drop off to save money. 

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