Post-Christmas returns for the first working day of the year were up more than 25% year-on-year, with around £1.5bn (US$1.8bn) worth of items being returned to retailers, mainly because of missed Christmas deliveries.
The usual Christmas delays were compounded by the impact of strikes in the traditional mail service, heavy snow and Covid-19 chaos in China, reports delivery specialist ParcelHero.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at ParcelHero, said, “It looks like Brits spent considerably less on presents this year. Figures from YouGov indicate planned spending on gifts fell from an average of £388 (US$462) to £300 (US$357). However, our overall Christmas budgets stayed relatively level, due to the increased cost of food, drink and post-pandemic parties.
“Even with this fall in gift purchases, we’re still seeing a significantly higher number of returns being handled by courier networks than we did last year. The chief reason is undoubtedly the fact that many items failed to arrive in time for Christmas. Some retailers, such as Currys, dropped their traditional mail options to ensure timely deliveries but that created knock-on delays in the alternative courier networks.
“In fact, with thousands of parcels still languishing in the system, many of us are still waiting for items to arrive 10 days after Christmas.
“The law states that goods must be delivered within 30 days, unless a specific timeframe was agreed upon, such as a guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery. However, we strongly advise everyone not to wait 30 days before contacting the retailer about a gift that never arrived. Remember, you should contact the retailer, not their courier service. Until the item arrives safely with you, it’s the seller’s responsibility.
“Shoppers returning unwanted goods must be aware that certain items need special extra packaging. TVs or microwaves, for example, are frequently delivered using the retailer’s or manufacturer’s specialist service, with vehicles designed for carrying such items. The original packaging supplied works perfectly for specially designed vehicles but probably won’t be adequate to withstand the demands of a busy courier network. We strongly recommend anyone returning a heavy item reads our guide to packaging and shipping heavy items,” Jinks concluded.