Holiday Returns by Customers are at 28%, Survey Says

2017 Holiday Returns Statistics: Holiday Returns by Customers are at 28%, Survey Says

The 2017 holiday season saw 28 percent of the gifts people purchased returned, at a value of $90 billion. The new infographic, report and survey by RedStag Fulfillment and Optro not only looks at the return rates of gifts, but how they impact businesses.

2017 Holiday Returns Statistics

In addition to surveying consumers on gifts and returns, RedStag points out the changing attitudes of businesses when it comes to dealing with returned items. The report suggests there are great opportunities in engaging with customers for developing long-term relationships by making the process of returning items a great experience.

Although the report mentions large retailers such as Zappos, Nordstrom and Gap to showcase how they have benefited, the same can be said for small businesses. In this case, the size of your company is not relevant because the customer has already made the purchase. But if you make the return hassle-free, it will be something the customer remembers long after he or she walks out the door.

On the official RedStag blog, Jake Rheude explains the benefits of having a frictionless return system in place and how it can pay off in the long run. Rheude says, “While the ROI may not be evident at first, you will see the difference when it comes to customer loyalty, repeat business and maybe even an after-season purchase or two.”

Impact of Returns

Rheude writes the return expenses for an organization can be anywhere from 20 to 65 percent of the cost of the goods, and poor execution and policies can exacerbate the problem.

However, having a good return policy leads to the likeliness of future purchases. According to Optoro, many of the people who returned gifts in the store ended up making additional purchases, while 30 percent redeemed their gift cards in the process of returning a gift.

The report suggest returns during the holiday season — or throughout the year for that matter — should be an important part of your company’s customer relationship building process.

The Survey

In terms of monetary value, the returned items for the whole year come to $380 billion worth of goods. The 2017 holiday season was up by 5.5 percent over 2016 and it netted around $692 billion.

The return rates for gifts in the survey break down as follows.

When it comes to the number of returns, 40 percent said they only returned one gift, while 21 percent said two. The highest rate came from 14 percent of the respondents who said they returned six or more gifts.

Males made more returns than females with a 58 to 42 percent ratio, and clothing and accessories were the most returned items at 75 percent. Shoes, electronics, beauty and personal products, outdoor and sports gear made up the rest of the most returned items at 21, 20, 13, 10, and 8 percent respectively.

You can look at the rest of the data in the infographic below.

2017 Holiday Returns Statistics: Holiday Returns by Customers are at 28%, Survey Says

Photo via Shutterstock


Michael Guta

Michael Guta Michael Guta is a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends focusing on business systems, gadgets and other small business news. He has a background in information and communications technology coordination.

2 Reactions

  1. No wonder gift cards are so much more common as gifts these days. Ouch!

  2. Aira Bongco

    That is a pretty high percentage. This means that more attention should be given to the returns. Why are they doing this?

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