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Experts predict gift returns will reach record highs this holiday season, contributing to more supply chain backlogs

Experts predict gift returns will reach record highs this holiday season, contributing to more supply chain backlogs
FedEx workers sort through a pile of boxes at the FedEx sort facility at the Oakland International Airport.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


Holiday gift returns are expected to be higher than ever this year as online shopping sales surge.




Two out of three consumers will return at least one gift during the holiday season this year, according to Optoro.




A shopping habit called "bracketing," where customers buy multiple colors or sizes of the same item, is contributing to returns.


Holiday gift returns are expected to be higher than ever this year as online shopping sales surge despite supply chain constraints.A An estimated two out of three consumers will return at least one gift during the holiday season this year, according to Optoro, a company that manages returns and excess inventory. Approximately $66.7 billion worth of product is forecasted to be returned by the end of 2021, potentially causing additional supply chain constraints as retailers face shipping delays, increased transportation costs, and labor shortages.The National Retail Federation expects 2021 online sales this holiday season to reach $222.3 billion, a 13% increase compared to last year. And while the cost of returning purchases has increased by about 33% for retailers compared to last year, free product returns are still a large incentive for customers' online shopping habits, according to Optoro.Since more consumers began their holiday shopping early this year to account for supply chain disruptions, retailers are seeing returns earlier than usual, according to the commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE.
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