Royal Mail sees 25% increase in returns as consumers embrace home fitting room and reveals returns hot spots


Royal Mail today reveals the areas in the UK where residents have been returning the most unsuitable and ill-fitting items ordered online during lockdown as restrictions ease. Royal Mail has seen a 25% increase in returns traffic, in comparison with the same time last year (July 2019 vs. July 2020) as consumers reflect on some of their hastier purchases.

When viewed across the UK, St Albans tops the list, followed by Watford. Kingston-upon-Thames, Ilford and South West London complete the top five. When split into countries, Edinburgh comes out top in the Scotland list and Cardiff takes first place in Wales.

Many retailers extended return periods during lockdown, giving consumers more time to make a decision on their purchases. The rise of the home fitting room has been given further momentum as many bricks and mortar stores continue to seal off their fitting rooms.

The findings are based on analysis of Tracked Returns 48 items accepted into the Royal Mail network in an average week in the time period between 29 June 2020 to 2 August 2020.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “Having analysed our returns data across our national network of delivery offices, St Albans has emerged as the UK’s returns hotspot. With e-commerce playing an important role in keeping the UK connected during such unprecedented times, online returns form an even more important part of the online shopping experience for both consumers and retailers.” 

During lockdown, our research revealed more than half (53%) of UK adults felt that receiving parcels had become more important and more than a third (36 per cent) said receiving a parcel was the highlight of their day.

Top 10 UK returns hotspots:

  1. St Albans
  2. Watford
  3. Kingston upon Thames
  4. Ilford
  5. South West London
  6. North West London
  7. Bromley
  8. Chelmsford
  9. North London
  10. Slough

Top 5 Scotland hotspots:

  1. Edinburgh
  2. Aberdeen
  3. Lerwick, Shetland
  4. Falkirk
  5. Glasgow

Top 5 Wales hotspots:

  1. Cardiff
  2. Newport
  3. Swansea
  4. Llandudno
  5. Llandrindod Wells