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Holiday Returns Expected to Reach over $112 Billion

Holiday Returns Expected to Reach over $112 Billion

A tsunami of holiday returns is expected this year – over $112 billion in merchandise. Marcus Shen, Chief Operating Officer of B-Stock, said online purchases are returned at double the rate of in-store buyers, spelling challenges for online sellers and retailers this year and into the beginning of 2022.

Many returns end up in the secondary market through platforms like B-Stock, which calls itself the world’s largest online marketplace for customer returned and overstock inventory. It handles excess merchandise for nine of the top 10 US retailers including Walmart, Target, Amazon, and others.

As online sellers know, returned goods can arrive back in varying condition, but Shen said fewer than 10% of returns actually make it back to primary shelves.

What is one business’s problem is another business’s opportunity. Much of returned holiday merchandise is purchased by resellers, including discount store owners, online sellers, mom-and-pop shops, wholesalers, and exporters.

After looking at trends across B-Stock’s marketplace network and the retail industry, here is what the company is forecasting for this year’s holiday returns season:

  • 13.3% of all holiday purchases will be returned.
  • $112- $114 billion worth of merchandise will get returned after the holidays.
  • $43 – $45 billion of that will come from eCommerce returns alone.

What kind of products are returned? B-Stock said in the first three months of 2021 following last year’s holiday season, the top categories of returned merchandise included apparel, home and garden goods, consumer electronics, and toys.

B-Stock acknowledges that navigating secondary market can be tricky for resellers – it says so right on its website in its Resources section, where it offers buyer guides and articles for a “better understanding of how to purchase liquidation inventory.”

Articles include advice on “How to Buy Amazon Liquidation on B-Stock” and “Can You Make Money Selling Amazon Returns?”

Obviously selling liquidated and used goods is tricky as well, so readers should do their homework.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “Holiday Returns Expected to Reach over $112 Billion”

  1. Returns are for chumps

    It’s the cheap easy way to take any responsibility at all from buyers

    It wastes fuel, time, money, and damages the environment (if that’s you game)

    It also turns small sellers into “the bad guy” when they can’t match a Walmart or an Amazon policy.

    Sanity rules, returns drool (80’s reference)

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