The Return Of Returns: The Rate Is Rising Even As Online Orders Surge

Online sales continued apace in the three weeks after Cyber Week, growing by 8% in the U.S. YoY for $97 billion in holiday orders. But this has been followed by a  tsunami of returns, according to an analysis by Salesforce. 

Returns nearly doubled the week after Cyber Week YoY. Salesforce expects over 1.4 billion orders purchased this holiday season, 13% of the total, will be returned.

Meanwhile, global online sales rose by 2% YOY to $395 billion during Cyber Week. 

Since November 1, U.S. digital sales have risen by 5% YoY, to $245 billion.

Global sales are flat at $1.03 trillion. Online sales across Europe continue to fall due to geopolitical and economic challenges.

Buy Online and Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) usage hit 20.2% of orders during Cyber Week, then fell to19% in the following two weeks. 



However, the rate shot up by 23% on Friday, December 16, reflecting the ground shipping cutoff during the weekend before Christmas. On Saturday December 17, BOPIS usage hit 25% of all orders. 

The average U.S. discount rate now stands at 19%, and the global rate at 18%, an increase of 6% overall.

Discounts rose by 11% globally and 14% in the U.S. in the two weeks after Cyber Week. 

The top discount rates are:

  • Skincare - 26%
  • General Apparel - 24%
  • Makeup - (20%)

“After a surprisingly strong Cyber Week in the U.S., retailers are continuing to offer attractive online discounts in the final few weeks of the holiday to clear balance sheets and shelf space,” says Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of Retail, Salesforce.

Earlier this month, Salesforce reported that total online sales reached $281 billion globally for the weekend) (+2% YOY) and $68 billion in U.S. (+9%).

For this report, Salesforce analyzed aggregated data from the activity of over 1.5 billion global shoppers across more than 64 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, in addition to Marketing Cloud and Service Cloud data from retailers.

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