When stores closed and consumer anxiety increased as a result of the pandemic, retailers emphasized free returns as part of efforts to make online shopping easy and convenient. That drove an increase in ecommerce return volumes that will remain higher than pre-pandemic levels through at least 2026.
As more consumption moves online, overall returns will increase. More than a third of total retail returns will come from ecommerce sales, even though online sales represent only about 15% of overall US retail. We forecast total retail and ecommerce return volume of $627.34 billion in 2023, a figure equal to 8.5% of overall sales for the year.
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