Takeback Monday: returns expected to increase by 63% on first working day of the year, Royal Mail reports

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Takeback Monday – returns of online purchases are predicted to increase by 63% compared to the average number of return parcels per day in December, according to Royal Mail. Takeback Monday is the day that most Brits will return their unwanted and ill-fitting Christmas presents. With global reach and the leading enabler of e-commerce in the UK, Royal Mail is well placed to observe trends across the industry.

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, the average online shopper in the UK sends back an online purchase every month. Three in five online shoppers would be unlikely to use a retailer again if they have a difficult returns experience. The returns experience is a key part of the online shopping puzzle. It is very important to get the returns experience right first time.

Over six in 10 (61%) of online shoppers returned clothing, 38% returned electrical goods and 35% returned footwear. The most common reasons for making returns is for clothing not fitting properly (39%) and non-clothing goods not working properly (23%). Eighteen per cent of younger shoppers (18-34-year olds) are more likely to return items because the item was not as described.

There are many different factors that come into play when it comes to how people return items and who they choose to return them with. Being able to send back unwanted goods for free is top of the list (85%) and having proof of return is just behind on 84%. Ease of returns is a strong motivator for 80% of shoppers, whilst having friendly staff is important to 70%.

This year, online shoppers have the option of having their returns collected from their doorstep with Royal Mail’s new service – Parcel Collect. With this service, postmen and postwomen now collect parcels as well as deliver them on their daily round. Royal Mail’s Parcel Postboxes are another option for posting return items.

Try before you buy

Being able to try on clothes (or look at other items) before paying for them is appealing to many UK shoppers. Almost a third (30%) of people that return items use a ‘try before you buy’ service. Those aged 18-34 (47%) are significantly more likely to have tried before they’ve bought, compared to just 16% of those aged 55 and over.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said: “January is the busiest time of the year for returns – and we expect it to be even bigger this year given the significant move to online shopping over the 2020 festive period. Having a clear, user-friendly returns policy is a vital part of the online shopping experience. For retailers, ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is key.”