The Postal Service has made improvements to prepare for the flurry of consumers returning holiday gifts through the mail.
Approximately 15-30 percent of items bought online during the holidays will be returned, according to the National Retail Federation.
To help these businesses, USPS has expanded its returns processing capabilities, which include more than 16,000 return delivery units across the nation.
The organization has also made it easier for businesses to insure returns. Additionally, USPS has enhanced its Merchandise Return Service, which applies to three mail classes: First-Class Package Service, Priority Mail and Ground Return Service.
The latest Postal Bulletin has an overview of these improvements, which also include a service that targets merchants that ship high-value, lightweight products like jewelry and consumer electronics.
The growth in the returns market is part of a broader shipping increase: USPS expected to deliver 850 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, up more than 10 percent from one year earlier.
The shipping spike was driven by major increases in online holiday shopping.
Online sales rose 18.1 percent from the 2016 holiday season, according to Mastercard Market Insights, an industry research service.
“Overall, this year was a big win for retail,” said Sara Quinlan, a Mastercard Market Insights senior executive.