FedEx Report: No-Label/No-Box Shipping is the Return Option of Choice for U.S. Consumers and Businesses

Consumers and business shippers surveyed during the 2023 holiday season agreed overall that no-box/no-label is more convenient, straightforward, easier, and less stressful than other return options.

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With the economic volatility of the pandemic largely behind us, the continued growth of e-commerce has created tremendous opportunity for businesses in 2024. Today, online shopping is more than shipping—it’s also demand, conversion, tracking, fulfillment, customer experience, and returns. In other words, merchants need to be in tune with consumer preferences throughout every stage of the consumer journey in order to deliver an enjoyable shopping experience. That’s why FedEx offers an extensive portfolio of returns transportation, label creation options, and technology to provide a frictionless experience for both retailers and consumers.

FedEx conducted a two-part survey with Morning Consult of nearly 1,110 U.S. consumers and 500 U.S. business shippers between December 21 – December 26, 2023, to gather intel on their preferences and habits for shipping returns.

“The data produced by this survey proves why it’s critical that we continue to expand our portfolio of return solutions,” said Ryan P. Kelly, vice president of commercialization at FedEx. “The reality is that many consumers today don’t have printers or adequate packaging materials at home, which may lead to a poor and less sustainable shipping experience. Additionally, boxes often don’t fit in the mailbox and consumers want a receipt for the return transaction. Consumers are embracing no-label/no-box shipping or opting to make returns at the store where they made the purchase or through a shipping store like FedEx. That’s why we’re leveraging our experience and these insights to adapt to the ways in which customers define convenience in 2024.”

Nearly half of U.S. consumers surveyed expected to return more or the same amount of items during the 2023 holiday season as they did in previous years. Overall, no-label/no-box return shipping is considered more convenient, straightforward, easier, and less stressful than other return options. Interestingly, consumers are more confident returning items to the store where they purchased them or taking them to a shipping store like FedEx for returns than they are returning the item to a different location or shipping them from their homes. The survey data also found that sustainable shipping and minimizing waste are particularly important to younger generations.

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Among U.S. macro or small, medium, and large business shippers surveyed, FedEx is one of the most commonly used return shipping partners, particularly by those in large organizations. Nearly all of the business shippers surveyed have used no-label/no-box shipping as they consider it to be more convenient, straightforward, easier, and less stressful than other return options. Additionally, most business shippers across organization size are willing to pay at least somewhat more for a partner that offers this method of shipping. Perhaps surprisingly, sustainability and minimizing shipping waste is more important to larger businesses.

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See the full findings of the FedEx Returns Research report:

FedEx Returns Research