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Nearly a quarter of online clothing purchases returned by shoppers

A new study has found that online shoppers return on average 2.2 items out of every 10 of their clothing purchases.


Nearly a quarter of online clothing purchases returned by shoppers

A new study has found that online shoppers return on average 2.2 items out of every 10 of their clothing purchases.

A survey of 1,000 online UK shoppers by EY found that 76% of returns are sent back due to a fit or sizing issue. It also found that the returners are more likely to be female, younger and earning a higher income.

For 60% of online shoppers polled, the returns policy was cited as one of the most important things they look for when considering using an online store. In addition, some 50% of online shoppers said they were ‘happy to buy things online that they’re not sure about, as it is easy to return them’. However, 66% disliked having to return items.

The survey, which separated respondents into ‘returners’ and ‘non-returners’, found that women were also more than twice as likely than men to say they ‘ordered more than one of the same item to try different sizes’. In addition, younger shoppers aged 18 to 24 were most likely to say they made a return because the item ‘didn’t match the description or picture online’.

Helen Merriott, partner and advisory markets leader at EY, said: “Our survey results show that the majority of online clothes shoppers want convenience of delivery and returns.

“They want cheap and easy delivery and do not want to be penalised or charged for returning goods.

“That said, the same shoppers would prefer not to be bothered with the inconvenience of the returns process at all and would buy more online if they were more confident of the fit and knew that the retailer had used leading technology to improve the likelihood of this.”

The survey found that 74% returners were more likely to agree that they ‘love trying on the things they buy at home’ with 63% saying it was particularly ‘important that they get their look exactly right’. In comparison, non-returners were much more likely to agree that they ‘only buy clothes when they really have to’. Furthermore, 48% of returners said they preferred online shopping to shopping in a store, compared to 38% of non-returners. In addition, 74% of returners said they enjoyed the experience of receiving the package in the post.

Merriott added: “Within ten years EY expects that the clothing supply chain will be integrated, lean and supported by rich digital technologies which will allow retailers to greatly enhance the online shopping experience of their customers.

“This will require digital support for supplier collaboration, 3D CAD patterns, analytics which model fabric behaviour, body scanning technologies and immersive online and physical store ‘try-on’ avatar experiences; all of this at scale, affordable and fully integrated. While there is no single end-to-end solution which dominates, the technology is available today and we predict that within 10 years it will be mainstream.”


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