The stores are full of promises of comfort and joy — a pair of fancy sweatpants, some box fresh sneakers, a shiny new kitchen gadget, a cozy new blanket. In a year of economic and social turmoil, brands are banking on the holiday to make up lost profits, and shoppers are hoping they can buy themselves some winter cheer to light up an otherwise dark year. Most of this wishful buying and selling is happening online.
What sparkles online, however, doesn’t always have the same appeal when we rip open the package.
Retail e-commerce sales for the third quarter of 2020 are estimated to amount to $209.5 billion, a nearly 37% increase over the same quarter in 2019. But every internet shopping parcel that gets delivered runs a high risk of being sent back. This risk increases as a result of unwanted Christmas gifts, with an estimated $41.6 billion worth of merchandise returned this time last year.