The National Retail Federation predicts retail sales will be up 8.5% – 10.5% from last year totaling between $843.4 billion and $859 billion! So, what does that mean for returns? Short answer: Retailers are bracing for record numbers. And for resellers, holiday returns are the real gift of the season. These holiday returns can be acquired in bulk on private, online liquidation auction sites (B-Stock’s specialty) for a fraction of the full retail cost.

Not only are holiday returns popular for in-store shoppers, but online as well. A recent consumer survey reveals free shipping and free returns to be the top driver for online shoppers. However, with all these online purchases, come plenty of returns. Especially when you take into account that 58% of online shoppers admit to ‘bracketing’ (the practice of buying multiple sizes and returning the ones that don’t fit).

The power of buying holiday returns for resale cannot be emphasized enough, that’s why we wrote this guide. Read along as we break down the following: 

  • Holiday retail and returns forecast 
  • What makes holiday returns so valuable 
  • Where to find pallets of holiday returns (we’re dropping names!) 
  • How to buy holiday returns 

Holiday retail and returns forecast   

The B-Stock retail returns experts have crunched the numbers and this is what we’re forecasting. 

  • $112-$114 billion worth of merchandise will be returned to retailers post-holiday 
  • $43 – $45 billion of that will come from eCommerce returns alone 

That’s a whole lot of returning going on! But how can resellers tap into this opportunity? We cover that below. For even more holiday data, check out our B-Stock Holiday Returns Data Center.

What makes holiday returns so valuable

Retailers put less than 10% of returned items back on primary shelves

There are simply too many returns and not enough hands to inspect, process, and restock all of them. This influx leads many top retailers to liquidate their returned holiday inventory in order to make way for inventory to come in the new year.

Dotcom returns

Online sales are expected to increase 11-15% from last year to reach a record-breaking $218.3 – $226.2B. Which is great news for resellers because online returns are often in better condition than store returns. Not only that, but online purchases are returned at double the rate of in-store purchases. That’s likely due to flexible return policies and the propensity for customers to order more than they need in various sizes and colors. Online returns can often be obtained in original wrappings or with signs of minimal handling. 

Popular gifting categories 

As gift recipients start making their returns, and retailers start liquidating those returns, it’s important to note what holiday returns one might expect to see. While gifts tend to get more and more unique each year (like the year everyone got an Airfryer), there are old reliables that you can always count on. Popular giftings categories like consumer electronics, mobile devices, apparel,  jewelry, and home & garden items tend to be top gifts. You will find these across a wide range of B-Stock marketplaces as holiday returns start creeping in. 

Browse Live Auctions

Where to find pallets of holiday returns from top retailers

From returns to overstock, these top retailers have it all. There’s never been a better time to shop liquidation than after the holidays—when you can find anything imaginable! It’s a great way for your business to stock up and kick start the New Year with the best inventory. 

Walmart

Walmart Liquidation Auctions allows resellers to bid on liquidation pallets of excess inventory, store returns, and refurbished bulk lots directly from Walmart. Typical Walmart liquidation pallet items include TVs, electronics, home & garden, furniture, bikes and ride ons, appliances, apparel, and more for a fraction of retail MSRP.

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Target 

Target Auction Liquidations is a marketplace where qualified buyers can bid on excess inventory from Target Stores and Target.com. All inventory is manifested and comes in several different conditions. Inventory will be available in a variety of categories including: apparel & accessories, electronics, home decor, music & movies, shoes, small appliances, sports & toys, video games, and mixed lots. 

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Amazon

If you’re looking for a wide variety of inventory for your business, Amazon Liquidation Auctions is a top choice. Registered business buyers can buy liquidation pallets directly from the world’s largest e-commerce company on Amazon Liquidation Auctions. U.S.-based buyers can bid on full truckloads of overstock home goods, apparel, books, consumer electronics, groceries, footwear, accessories, and more. 

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QVC

QVC Liquidation Auctions is the official B2B marketplace for QVC’s liquidation of apparel, home décor, kitchenware, shoes, seasonal, and more. Auctions are offered in bulk quantity with products separated into condition categories like New Condition, Grade A/B, Grade C, Carton Damange, among others.

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Land’s End

Land’s End liquidation is available for business buyers to bid on like new, brand new and good/fair condition customer returned apparel, accessories and footwear. Seasonal clothing is still in demand in the coming winter months, don’t miss your chance to reach apparel shoppers!

Register Now 

Samsung & Apple 

Mobile devices are a top gifting category this time of year, which also translates to increased holiday returns. The biggest names in phones  like Samsung, Apple, and Google can be found on B-Stock’s mobile marketplaces. Find top brands and the latest models of mobile devices from leading carriers and manufacturers in various conditions.

View Mobile Auctions

How to buy holiday returns 

1. Register to your favorite marketplaces

Register to one, three, or eight! You must register to each marketplace with auctions you’re interested in. Consider the market you have and what your customers are after. For holiday returns, you may find that apparel marketplaces are your niche. Or if you have the customer base that’s after more home goods, consider those marketplaces your top priority. 

2. Familiarize yourself with the process of buying liquidation pallets 

We’ve written The Complete Checklist for Buying Liquidation Pallets to take you step-by-step through the process of researching, finding the right auction, shipping, storage & organization, and reselling liquidation pallets. Don’t miss out on this great, downloadable piece of content! 

buying liquidation pallets

3. Start browsing auctions 

Be sure to use filters to better browse auctions; filters like region, shipping type, and condition come in handy when refining your search. Remember, shopping auctions closer to you will help you save on shipping costs. The greater the distance traveled, the more shipping will be. Read more about ways to save on shipping here.

4. Understanding conditions codes 

Holiday returns will come in various shapes and sizes. Like we said, dotcom returns tend to be in better condition because online shoppers are likely ordering more than one size or color, and want to ensure they receive a full refund when repacking their returns. You can read more about customer returns in A Guide to Buying Customer Returns.

5. Only pay what you want 

With an auction-style format, you only pay what you want for inventory. Simply put down your max bid based on your calculations (these often include MSRP, shipping costs, cost per unit, etc.) and our auto-bidding system will incrementally raise your bid on your behalf so you don’t have to keep checking back.  

6. Shipping 

It’s a busy time for carriers during the holiday season. You will want to pay special attention to any unique marketplace callouts for potential shipping constraints or logistics delays you should be aware of. Extended delivery times, or delivery requirements like liftgates will be noted in the auction details. For more information on potential holiday shipping constraints, check out this blog

7. Participate in B-Stock’s Restock Event 

B-Stock Restock Month takes place every January because it’s when many top brands and retailers start listing their holiday returns and overstock inventory on B-Stock! Popular categories that tend to see a surge in inventory during this time include:

  • Cell Phones
  • Home & Garden
  • Apparel
  • Electronics
  • Appliances
  • Mixed Lots

When you’re ready to start selling your holiday returns, don’t forget to use these marketing tips; along with great product photos and detailed product descriptions. Check out live auctions happening now and get ready to secure holiday returns in the New Year, on B-Stock. 

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"B-Stock helped me buy top quality liquidated inventory and maximize my profit margin. I can't recommend them more!"

Karen Smith, Business Owner

Bargain Dealz

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