Siri, remind me to drop off my returns

We delve into which days of the week when shoppers are most likely to drop off online returns.

This month on BOXpoll—with holidays upon us and returns peak around the corner—we’re delving into the days of the week when online shoppers are most likely to drop off their returns. While some retailers offer home pick-up, the majority rely on drop-off methods, such as brick-and-mortar stores, carrier locations, lockers, and kiosks. With nearly 70% of retailers providing return drop-off options, understanding drop-off preferences and habits can be helpful for retailers during returns season, as transit times may vary based on when carriers receive shoppers’ parcels.

We started by asking online shoppers which days they most prefer to drop off return packages and compared their responses with actual shopping and errand trip data from the Federal Highway Administration’s most recent National Household Travel Survey. Here’s what we found: 

Key takeaways: 

  • Surprisingly, Monday is the most popular day of the week to drop off online returns, according to both consumer surveys and actual errands data. Our theory for why shoppers say they prefer the beginning of the week over Friday-Sunday? Weekends are sacred, and most consumers are protective of their roughly 60 hours of freedom. Mondays are already a struggle, so why not throw one more errand on the stack?
  • Sundays performed much better—relative to other days of the week—in real trip data than in our consumer preference survey. We attribute this dynamic to most shipping centers are closed on Sundays, while retail stores and other “shopping/errands” destinations that would be included in NHTS data are more likely to be open.
  • While Monday is the clear first-place winner across stated preference and actual behavior, identifying consumers’ most popular back-up options is a muddier task. While consumers list Tuesday and Wednesday as their preferred back-ups, they often end up running errands on Friday and Saturday (likely due to hectic mid-week schedules).

A more detailed dive into the survey data:

BOXpollTM by Pitney Bowes, a weekly consumer survey on current events, culture, and ecommerce logistics. Conducted by Pitney Bowes with Morning Consult // 2200 US consumers surveyed November 2023. © Copyright Pitney Bowes Inc .

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