UPS expects to process 1.9 million returns Thursday, up 26% year over year, according to a company press release.
The increase marks a seventh-consecutive record, thereby "illustrating how e-commerce continues transforming shopping patterns," the company said.
Consumers can take UPS returns to UPS' drop boxes, Store locations, Access Point locations or to its fleet of delivery drivers, who can directly receive a return package with a label, per the release.
Logistics providers and retailers are bracing for a flood of returns.
According to Oracle Retail, 77% of consumers plan a gift return this holiday season, with 65% returning in store and 32% anticipating a return via mail. The ease — or friction — behind that process can impact how shoppers feel about retailers. A UPS "Pulse of the Online Shopper Study" revealed that 73% of online shoppers say the returns experience impacts their likelihood to purchase from a retailer again.
"For retailers, a seamless returns process is essential to keeping and growing business," Kevin Warren, UPS chief marketing officer, said in a statement.
Retailers and consumers seem to be at a disconnect regarding the ease of returns overall. A separate Oracle survey revealed that 57% of consumers say returns are a hassle or could be easier, while 57% of retailers said returning products is "very easy."
To deal with the influx, logistics providers and retailers seek creative solutions to streamline services.
Through a partnership, Kohl's this year decided to accept Amazon returns in its stores. UPS completed a rollout of UPS Access Points to over 1,000 Michael's stores and partnered with Advanced Auto Parts and CVS Pharmacy locations. FedEx and Dollar General partnered to offer in-store package pickup and drop-off at 8,000 Dollar General locations.