Free return shipping boosts holiday sales ahead of UPS, FedEx rate hikes
By Jay Keller
The offer for free return shipping influenced online purchasing decisions during the holiday season in 2012, according to the FedEx Peak Returns Survey.
The findings, published their entirety by BizJournals, represent the results of the telephone survey of at least 1,000 adults in early December.
More shoppers, according to the FedEx Survey, prefer to return gifts online instead of bringing back the gifts to a brick-and-mortar location.
When shipping unwanted gifts, which is about one-third of all people who received gifts, shoppers were split over which method was best.
Most shoppers prefer to ship back gifts by having a courier or mailman pick them up or by visiting a shipping store like FedEx Office, The UPS Store, Mailboxes Etc., or a similar place.
The findings also show that less than one-third prefer to ship returns using the U.S. Postal Service.
This is good news for shipping companies like FedEx and UPS who benefit from facilitating the bulk of online shipping business.
The rise in shipping returns should also help shipping companies in the waning days of the holiday season ahead of planned cost increases in January 2013.
The FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery prices are set to go up on January 7, 2013, which represents a full average rate increase of 5.9 percent. The price will be partially offset by adjusting the fuel price threshold at which the fuel surcharge begins, reducing the fuel surcharge by one percentage point for a 4.9 percent net increase. FedEx published online frequently asked questions in an effort to help explain further rate changes and the new calculation of shipping costs.
UPS Ground Services will increase prices on December 31, 2012, using a similar model as their competitor FedEx through a combination of higher rates which are offset by fuel prices listed in the UPS Ground fuel surcharge table. The total net increase for UPS ground services is also 4.9 percent. The complete 2013 UPS Surcharge Changes are available online and, according to the company, will allow for improved service to the customer.