holiday returns ecommerce

Let’s face it, most of us are frankly quite terrible at predicting what kind of gifts our loved ones will truly appreciate. We go out of our way to try to find things that we believe our loved ones will appreciate, but it doesn’t always pan out as we might have hoped.

According to data from the National Retail Federation, holiday gift purchases are returned at a far higher rate than other everyday purchases. Online eCommerce stores can see a return rate as high as 35% on holiday gifts compared to just 16% on everyday purchases.

So what does the forecast for holiday returns look like for 2023?

Customers Become More Comfortable With Returning Gifts

Society has seen an uptick in the frequency with which gifts are returned and in the comfort that people appear to have with the concept of returning holiday gifts.

The feeling of inevitability surrounding holiday gift returns has grown so high that many people are purchasing multiple gift items for their loved ones with the expectation that at least some of those options will be returned. Forbes reports that 31% of those shoppers are planning ahead for this inevitability, buying multiple variations of individual items knowing they’ll have the option to return the “fails” later.

Shoppers understand that returns have become a major part of the landscape surrounding holiday shopping. Therefore, they are preparing for that inevitability with these strategies.

Why Returns Might Be Even Heavier in 2023

There are reasons to believe that the rate of returns of holiday gifts could be higher in 2023 compared to previous years. Not only has the public become more comfortable with the concept of returning holiday gifts, but the processes for doing so have been made much easier as well. Add to the mix the economic pressures that many consumers are feeling at this time, and it starts to become readily apparent that 2023 could be a bigger year for holiday gift returns than previous years.

A survey run by Advantage Solutions that dove into consumer sentiment about Thanksgiving food and holiday gift shopping habits found that roughly half of respondents stated that inflation would have an impact on their spending. Many participants intend to carry forward with some or most of their holiday traditions, but they might have to scale them back to some extent due to financial constraints.

The rate of holiday returns could easily increase in 2023 compared to previous years as gift recipients seek to receive money back on gifts that they do not gain much value out of. Even if the gift recipient is unable to receive cash directly for their return, they can typically receive a credit of some kind to use on a gift they want. Given the financial pressures that many find themselves facing at this time, it is hardly a surprise to learn that many are actively considering returning more holiday gifts this year than they might have in the past. eCommerce retailers should anticipate this and prepare themselves according.

Contact us to learn more about how you can better manage holiday gift returns for your busy eCommerce company with Freestyle Solutions’ M.O.M. order management and inventory management system.