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UK returns expected to surge 63 percent on ‘Takeback Monday’

By Huw Hughes

4 Jan 2021


Returns of online purchases in the UK are expected to surge on Takeback Monday, the day that most Brits will return their unwanted and ill-fitting Christmas presents.

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, returns will increase by 63 percent on the first working day of the year, compared to the average number of return parcels per day in December.

Breaking the returns down by category, over six in ten (61 percent) of online shoppers returned clothing and 35 percent returned footwear.

Being able to try on clothes before paying is important to many UK shoppers, with almost a third (30 percent) of shoppers that return items using a 'try before you buy' service. Those aged 18-34 (47 percent) are significantly more likely to have tried before they’ve bought, compared to just 16 percent of those aged 55 and over.

And the returns process is increasingly important for online shoppers, with three in five saying they would be unlikely to use a retailer again if they had a difficult returns experience.

The most commonly cited reason for sending items back was that clothing didn’t fit properly (39 percent), while 18 percent of younger shoppers (18-34-year olds) are more likely to return items because the item was not as described.

So what do shoppers look for in return policies? Being able to send back unwanted goods for free is top of the list (85 percent), followed by having proof of return (84 percent), ease of returns (80 percent), and friendly staff (70 percent).

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said in a statement: “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.”

Photo credit: Jeshoots.com, Pexel

Royal Mail