• Home
  • News
  • Retail
  • Online returns to reach 5.6 billion pounds by 2023, fashion hit hardest

Online returns to reach 5.6 billion pounds by 2023, fashion hit hardest

By Huw Hughes


Scroll down to read more


Online returns in the UK are predicted to increase by 27.3 percent in the next five years and hit a total of 5.6 billion pounds by 2023, a new study by data and analytics company GlobalData reveals. The rapid growth however still represents a lower return rate due to an even faster increase of online spending.

The clothing and footwear sector is expected to see the highest rate of returns, while health and beauty, DIY and gardening, and furniture and floor coverings will experience the fastest growth as customers become more confident buying online from different sectors.

Last week it was revealed that this year’s online Black Friday returns are predicted to cost fashion retailers 1.6 billion pounds , according to returns management platform ReBound Returns, with the overall UK retail sector set to suffer return prices totalling 2.4 billion pounds due to to a spike in returns activity between Black Friday and Christmas Day.

Online returns to increase by 27.3 percent in next five years

Commenting on GlobalData’s report, Emily Salter, Retail Analyst for GlobalData said: “Clothing and footwear is the most returned sector, which is unsurprising due to the importance of fit – especially for online pureplays as customers do not have a chance to try items on or judge the quality of products.

“Females account for the majority of clothing and footwear returners partly because they make up a higher proportion of online clothing and footwear shoppers, but also due to the numerous fits of female clothing.”

GlobalData said that retailers need to properly prepare themselves for the expected increase in returns in order “to successfully handle higher volumes and retain high customer satisfaction.” Receiving clothing that doesn’t fit properly is the number one reason for online clothing and footwear returns, said GlobalData, suggesting that companies should “improve product information” and better use “fit technologies that recommend customers an optimum size based on factors including height, weight, age and size at another retailer.”

“The ease of returning items is important to consumers – 78.3 percent of online shoppers agree that retailers need to improve the ease of repacking items for returns, and 53.3 percent state that the hassle of returning goods puts them off shopping off online,” Salter added. “It is important that retailers offer a range of returns options, as although returns via post dominate, many consumers use alternative methods such as returns via a convenience store.

“Free returns are common across most sectors and consumers have come to expect this, with 72.9 percent of online shoppers agreeing that they wouldn’t order from a retailer if they had to pay for returns.”

GlobalData’s survey took data from 10,000 shoppers.

Photo credit: Rawpixel.com, Pexels