Holiday Returns

According to new data from ShipStation’s latest consumer survey, 69 percent of consumers expect to do more holiday returns in 2020 as compared to 2019. In part, the company said the increase is being caused by the newly escalated reliance on online shopping.

The shift away from shopping in stores will likely extend to returns as well, with 68 percent of consumers telling ShipStation they plan to complete returns by mail this year and only 32 percent saying they will handle returns in-store.

Apparel was revealed as the category most likely to be returned with 65 percent of consumers reporting they will likely return clothing they were gifted during the holidays. At the same time, cleaning products were found to be least likely to be returned with only 3 percent of consumers telling the company they had plans to return.

Moreover, ShipStation said in its report that with less financial stability this year, 69 percent of consumers said they planned to conduct returns quickly after the holidays with consumers sharing plans to make returns within an average of 10 days following the holidays.

In fact, a third of consumers surveyed said return policies and ease of returns impacted decisions on which retailers to shop with this season with a quarter reporting the returns window and cost of returns also influenced purchase decisions. Further, a third of consumers said return policies and ease of returns “carry more weight this year than last” when it came to making purchase decisions.

Overall, consumers expect free returns. Notably, 73 percent of consumers said they “expect brands to provide free returns this holiday season because of COVID-19,” and 76 percent said they were more likely to shop with retailers this holiday season if they offered free returns. And likely driven by more holiday shopping being done early, the sentiment also extended to expectations for longer return times with 78 percent of consumers saying they expect brands to offer extended return windows due to COVID-19.

For More WWD Business News: 

Engaging Technology for a Holistic Retail Experience

Survey Finds Safety Concerns Leading to Rise in Digital Gift Cards for the Holidays

Accenture’s Holiday Shipping Study Names Top-performing Retailers