With a drawn-out shopping season and more people ringing up purchases online, the number of packages being returned is actually starting to spike ahead of Christmas, not after it.
For the first time ever, UPS has forecast the busiest day for returns will be Wednesday. Typically, the busiest day for returns falls on Jan. 3, after people have opened their gifts and made it through any New Year's Eve celebrations. But the Atlanta-based carrier says it expects a record 1.5 million packages to be returned Dec. 19, compared with 1.3 million expected on Jan. 3, 2019.
UPS attributed the shift to more consumers buying gifts for themselves this year, encouraged by the good deals online earlier in the holiday season, and to companies making the returns process easier.
Walmart, for example, earlier this year announced changes to its online marketplace to make it easier for shoppers to return purchases by giving them quicker access to shipping labels and return policies. And Amazon has forged a partnership with Kohl's, where Amazon returns are now being accepted at kiosks at certain Kohl's stores.