With return authorization solutions deployed in 34,000 stores across the country, The Retail Equation/Sysrepublic, the retail business unit of Appriss, annually reports on the state of post-holiday returns in the United States. The company is uniquely positioned to paint an accurate picture through the vast amounts of data it collects and analyzes during the seven days after Christmas at the point of return.
“These statistics provide a snapshot of the state of post-holiday returns and are intended to offer retailers insights on return behavior,” said David Speights, chief data scientist at The Retail Equation/Sysrepublic. “Our goal is to help retailers optimize their return counters, provide a positive shopping experience for their consumers, and, ultimately, increase the likelihood of the consumer re-spending those return dollars with the retailer.”
Top Five Facts about 2016 Holiday Returns
1. Returns peaked again on Dec. 26 at 11:22 a.m. PST/2:22 p.m. EST. This is very close to the same time returns peaked the past three years. It’s clear lunchtime on the day after Christmas is the most popular return time of the entire year. This is when all return registers should be properly staffed and associates should be ready to deliver the best customer experience. It is also the ideal time to convert gift returners into regular shoppers.
2. The highest rate of returns nationwide occurred on Dec. 26, where returns were nearly two times the normal rate seen during the holiday season. Interestingly, because of the way days of the week fell in relation to both Christmas and New Year’s Day, Jan. 2 was a big return day also, with returns nearly double the normal rate.
3. The Midwest states again had the highest rate of returns, when comparing total dollars purchased to total dollars returned and exchanged.
a. Illinois had the highest rate of returns with 22.0 percent, while Missouri had the second highest at 21.2 percent.
b. The state with the least rate of returns was Minnesota with 7.0 percent
4. Buy Online, Return In Store (BORIS) retailers reported between 12.7 to 14.4 percent of all holiday returns came from online purchases.
5. Surprisingly, champagne sales decreased more than 6 percent year-over-year in preparation for New Year’s Day.
As the hustle and bustle of the holidays begins to wind down, retail executives turn their attention to final shrink numbers. The Retail Equation/Sysrepublic has conducted studies to substantiate the fact that return rate and return fraud are closely tied to shrink. These studies indicate that if a retailer takes actions to prevent return fraud and abuse, shrink can be reduced by a significant amount. This suggests that paying close attention to returns is a powerful weapon to combat shrink. As companies look to improve their loss prevention metrics in the coming months, they should consider implementing strategies to reduce return rate and fraud and, ultimately, shrink.