Indecisive shoppers return millions of products a year that ‘didn’t look the same at home’, report finds

Millions of indecisive consumers in the UK have admitted to returning products bought for their home just because they didn’t look the same as they did online or in-store, research has found.

Four in 10 shoppers said that products not looking how they imagined at home was the main reason they returned items like furniture, while a fifth admitted to making cosmetic changes to their homes – like new wall and floor coverings – only to regret their decision.

Others (10%) hated their choices so much they spent more money making further changes while nearly 30% were so scared of making the wrong choice they couldn’t make a decision.

The findings form part of a report commissioned by Manchester based mixed reality company DigitalBridge, which found the UK’s retail market is losing £1bn a year due to consumers returning products or walking away from purchases because they couldn’t imagine what items would look like at home.

The research highlights the challenge faced by retailers when it comes to allowing consumers to preview products before buying them as well as the commercial challenges in dealing with high numbers of returns.

Worryingly for retailers in the home décor market, more than half of consumers said they would be more likely to return or put off purchasing new furniture, or wallpaper and paint above any other purchase.

Commenting on the report’s findings DigitalBridge CEO David Levine said: “Making changes to a home or buying products like furniture is a major decision. Feeling you have made a mistake can be devastating for consumers and costly and time consuming for retailers when it comes to arranging refunds and returns.

“In the past this problem was something retailers were unable to help customers overcome, but new technology and developments in virtual, augmented and mixed reality platforms are making it possible for homeowners to preview changes before spending any money.

“This report also highlights a serious commercial challenge for retailers with consumers admitting to putting off, or deciding against, making purchases because they can’t imagine what items will look like when they get home.

“Consumers have often wished they had an undo button for their poor choices, and now technology has given them one.”

For more information about DigitalBridge’s report: “The Imagination Gap – Retail’s £1bn problem” go to

Why are consumers returning home décor purchases?

·       It didn’t look the same as it did instore – 42%

·       The colour didn’t match the room properly – 35%

·       It didn’t fit in the space I wanted to put it – 35%

·       I didn’t like the look of it in the room – 30%

Decorator’s remorse.

·       I have regretted a change I made to my home – 15%

·       After making changes to my home I have spent more money changing it again because I was unhappy with the original results – 14%

·       I have made changes to my home that look completely different to how I imagined them – 19%

·       I have bought products that looked completely different when they arrived – 27%