Takeback Tuesday: returns expected to double on first working day of year, says Royal Mail

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On Tuesday 2 January – Takeback Tuesday – returns of online purchases are predicted to double compared to the average number of return parcels per day in December, according to Royal Mail.

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, 3 in 4 customers purchasing women’s clothing return an item. The study, part of Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters report, reveals clothing (75%), footwear (38%) and electrical goods (37%) are the most commonly returned items. When looking at the clothing category in more detail, dresses (37%) are the most commonly returned women’s item of clothing, followed by crop tops/t-shirts (22%) and trousers/jeans (20%). Male shoppers return trousers/jeans the most (28%), followed by shirts (23%) and coats/jackets (20%).

The main reason for returning clothes is because an item did not fit (42%). Wrong size (32%), not suitable (20%) and not what was expected (20%) are also popular reasons to return clothes.

Shoppers expect simplicity

There’s now an expectation of ease and efficiency when it comes to returns. 81% of consumers say they prefer returns labels to be included with purchases. Almost nine in ten would consider themselves likely to shop with a retailer again if re-sealable packaging was provided. Speed and guidance is also key. 96% believe it’s important to get notified of a refund upon their item being returned. 75% both consider it important to have guidance about which returns label to use and to get refunded quickly after a return. Tracking is also important and 73% want to be able to track the status of their item. Ease of return really matters and 60% of shoppers would be less likely to shop with a retailer again following a difficult returns experience.

Free returns affect retailer choice

Most shoppers expect free returns to be offered by retailers. 47% of shoppers would be unlikely to shop with a retailer again if it charged for returns. Further to this, three in five shoppers expect to receive free returns regardless of the amount spent. Where this isn’t offered, a third of shoppers would switch to a different retailer who does offer free returns.

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “January is the busiest time of year for returns. Having an easy way to return online purchases is a crucial part of the online shopping experience. For retailers everywhere ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is incredibly important.”