UPS had their so-called National Returns Day this week, on Wednesday 3rd January. The company expected to process 6 million returns and an overall 1.4 million packages.
After a rocky start following Black Friday weekend, UPS met the seasonal challenge and delivered 99.1% of all ground deliveries for the week leading up to Christmas. FedEx achieved a success rate of 98.7%.
Both companies came under fire in 2013 for failed Christmas deliveries in the face of unanticipated demand; then, in 2014, UPS overspent on extra seasonal resources. In the years since, UPS and FedEx have hit much closer to the mark.
The influx of returns is the next big hurdle. National Returns Day has become a phenomenon in response to e-commerce habits—retail customers use drop-off or collection services for returns, rather than queueing up as in previous years.
It is estimated that 25-30% of all online purchases are sent back, three times the rate for items bought in-store.