It follows that a busy online holiday shopping season would beget a flurry of return shipments. UPS expects to handle 1.9 million return packages on Jan. 2, USA Today reports. That's a 26% jump from last year and would be a record day for the seventh straight year, the company said Thursday. "This process is a change from years past, when consumers would rush to physical retailers the day after Christmas and stand in long lines to make returns," the company said in a press release. The crunch hits quickly: The National Retail Foundation's research has found that 55 percent of shoppers plan to return unwanted gifts within a month of receiving them.
And a lot of gifts were given this season. MasterCard SpendingPulse reported Thursday that retail sales rose 3.4% over last year, while online sales were up 18.8%. It's not all good news for retailers, Business Insider points out, because those returns cost them. UPS had reminded retailers as the shopping season began that they'd want to factor in the cost of the inevitable returns. (Read more holiday shopping stories.)