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Those socks you returned after the holidays could be auctioned off at a warehouse in Pennsylvania

Published: 
January 7, 2024

Retailers are grappling with an influx of returned holiday gifts, but a significant portion of these items won't return to store shelves. Instead, they'll be sent to warehouses and auctioned off at a fraction of their original prices. The National Retail Federation estimates that over 15% of the $966 billion spent during the recent holiday season will be returned, a trend fueled by the generous return policies of the e-commerce era.

The reverse logistics market, which encompasses all aspects of handling in-store or online returns, was valued at $939 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 12% through 2032. According to Insider Intelligence, returns in 2023 were expected to reach $627 billion, representing over 26% growth from 2020 and accounting for 8.5% of total retail sales. The share of returns attributed to e-commerce was also expected to rise from 33.7% to 34.3% during this period.

To cope with the surge in returns, many retailers are adopting "returnless refund" policies, with about 59% of them offering this during the holiday season. These policies typically apply to lower-cost purchases, but some brands, like Wayfair, are even allowing customers to keep higher-value items like furniture.

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About goTRG

goTRG is a leading reverse logistics company that specializes in solving returns. goTRG's connected suite of returns management SaaS, reverse supply chain, and ReCommerce services, under one roof, delivers a true end-to-end solution for returns from initiation through resale. goTRG works with retailers, eCommerce brands, and vendors, to deliver the smartest choices for every touch movement and pricing decision, while also preventing items from unnecessarily ending up in landfills.

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