Siras Analyzes 2010 Holiday Returns

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The rate of product return within 90 days of purchase increased by about 20 percent in the 12 weeks between Sept. 1 and Thanksgiving for major CE retailers in 2010.

But it dropped steadily for purchases made between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to about 10 percent below the annual average, according to an exclusive report prepared for TWICE by Siras, based here, provider of product registration, return validation and lifecycle tracking services.

Consumer electronics purchased on Black Friday and the days immediately before Christmas had the lowest rate of return within 90 days of sale than products purchased at any other time during 2010, the report shows.

“It’s interesting that while Black Friday is typically the day with the best holiday promotions, last year it was the days immediately before Christmas that produced the absolute lowest rate of 90-day return,” said Siras president Peter Junger. “Perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom, those last-minute purchases are the gifts people are most likely keep.”

It is too early to know if the pattern will repeat itself in 2011, Junger said, though Siras has seen this similar trend in reviewing the two previous years’ data. So far as figures were available for 2011, he stated, rates of return were within typical ranges.

Junger said that most returns occur within 90 days of sale and that the lower rate of return for the Thanksgiving-to- Christmas interval last year probably meant that more of those sales remained final – good news to retailers. He also noted that, with respect to return activity, the holiday spirit didn’t endure, and the rate of return for the 90-day post purchase period climbed back to annual norms immediately after the New Year. “It was business as usual on Jan. 1,” he said.


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