Americans will return $90 billion worth of holiday gifts this year

Returning presents.
(Image credit: iStock)

U.S. consumers will return roughly $90 billion worth of goods this holiday season, according to an estimate by Optoro, which estimates shopping return shipments. That amounts to roughly 15 percent of all holiday purchases, estimates Raj Subramaniam, FedEx's head of marketing. Gift returns represent a potential windfall in business for FedEx and UPS as online sales rise, partly by making drop-off locations convenient.

"Being able to return is now a competitive tool," Bruce Cohen, head of strategy and private equity for retail and consumer products at consulting firm Kurt Salmon, a unit of Accenture, told CNBC. "If it's a pain for customers to return items, they will go elsewhere."

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