News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    29 December 2017
    Takeback Tuesday: Returns Expected To Double On First Working Day Of The Year
  • 3 in 4 customers purchasing women’s clothing return an item
  • Clothing (75%), footwear (38%) and electrical goods (37%) are the most commonly returned items
  • Dresses (37%) are the most commonly returned clothes item
  • The average returner in the UK sends back an online purchase every month
  • Young shoppers (18-34 year olds) typically return more items

On Tuesday 2nd January – Takeback Tuesday - returns of online purchases are predicted to double compared to the average number of return parcels per day in December, according to Royal Mail.

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, 3 in 4 customers purchasing women’s clothing return an item. The study, part of Royal Mail’s annual Delivery Matters report, reveals clothing (75%), footwear (38%) and electrical goods (37%) are the most commonly returned items. When looking at the clothing category in more detail, dresses (37%) are the most commonly returned women’s item of clothing, followed by crop tops/t-shirts (22%) and trousers/jeans (20%). Male shoppers return trousers/jeans the most (28%), followed by shirts (23%) and coats/jackets (20%).

The main reason for returning clothes is because an item did not fit (42%). Wrong size (32%), not suitable (20%) and not what was expected (20%) are also popular reasons to return clothes.

Shoppers expect simplicity

There’s now an expectation of ease and efficiency when it comes to returns. 81% of consumers say they prefer returns labels to be included with purchases. Almost nine in ten would consider themselves likely to shop with a retailer again if re-sealable packaging was provided. Speed and guidance is also key. 96% believe it’s important to get notified of a refund upon their item being returned. 75% both consider it important to have guidance about which returns label to use and to get refunded quickly after a return. Tracking is also important and 73% want to be able to track the status of their item. Ease of return really matters and 60% of shoppers would be less likely to shop with a retailer again following a difficult returns experience.

Free returns affect retailer choice

Most shoppers expect free returns to be offered by retailers. 47% of shoppers would be unlikely to shop with a retailer again if it charged for returns. Further to this, three in five shoppers expect to receive free returns regardless of the amount spent. Where this isn’t offered, a third of shoppers would switch to a different retailer who does offer free returns.

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said “January is the busiest time of year for returns. Having an easy way to return online purchases is a crucial part of the online shopping experience. For retailers everywhere ensuring their returns experience is in line with consumers’ expectations is incredibly important.”

Ends 

For journalist enquiries contact:

Jasmin Prichard, Royal Mail press office

Email: jasmin.prichard@royalmail.com

Royal Mail press office: 020 7449 8246 

Note to editors

The research was independently conducted by Trinity McQueen and based on a sample group of 1,320 UK online marketplace shoppers who had returned an item purchased on the internet in the last three months. 

About Royal Mail plc

Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to around 30 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.