The Big Number: $148 Billion

The $148 billion represents about 15.4 percent of all the merchandise purchased over the holiday season. That’s lower than last year, when customers returned 17.9 percent of holiday purchases. The estimated sum of returns for all of 2023 — $743 billion — decreased, too, from $816 billion in 2022.

But retailers continue to struggle to reduce returns, which are part of a complex and costly process known as “reverse logistics.”

Maansi Srivastava/The New York Times