With the holiday season upon us, consumers are hard at work finding the very best gifts for loved ones. An uptick in shopping and gifts, of course, will mean an uptick in returns as well. In fact, while the national return rate is 11.3%, the National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that holiday shopping will effect a 13% return rate for the 2017-2018 season.

To learn more about consumer returns habits, Optoro surveyed consumers and understand how shopping and gifting behaviors can impact retailers and how they manage returns. Below, we’ll highlight the most insightful (and often surprising) data we found through the survey.

Clothing remains the most-returned gift. For those looking to avoid adding any negative environmental impact this holiday season, we would avoid gifting clothing. Survey respondents noted that this is largely due to sizing, rather than style.

45% of consumers will return unwanted holiday gifts between December 26th and 31st. If you want to avoid crowds at malls and shopping centers, try waiting until January to return any unwanted items.

91% of returns happen in-store (rather than by mail), and 57% of shoppers made an additional purchase at the same store while returning an item. While it may seem counterintuitive, providing shoppers a seamless and easy returns experience is actually an excellent opportunity for retailers to capitalize on additional sales — and this is not exclusive to the holiday season.

Retailers who don’t offer free return shipping may be missing out on sales.

While retailers have historically been hesitant to offer free returns, doing so actually creates a better customer experience, leading shoppers happier, and more likely to shop with that retailer again. See the full infographic here.

From Optoro’s experience working with many of the top retailers in the country, managing a steady stream of returns is no issue at all as long as retailers are enabled with effective returns management software.

Want to learn more about Optoro’s solution? Contact us here.