A huge surge in online shopping during the pandemic has been a savior for retailers, but it comes at a price.

The Berkshire Eagle reports shoppers are expected to return twice as many items as they did during last year's holiday period, costing companies roughly $1.1 billion, according to Narvar Inc., a software and technology company that manages online returns for hundreds of brands.

Retailers don't want the returns, but they do want shoppers who may not feel safe going to stores to be comfortable buying things they haven't seen or tried on in person.

People have been doing so much online buying since March that carriers like UPS and FedEx were already at full capacity before the holiday shopping season.

And online sales just keep soaring. From Nov. 1 though Tuesday, they spiked 32 percent to $171.6 billion, compared with the year-ago period, according to Adobe Analytics.