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Online returns in the UK

Online returns in the UK


The returns market will grow by 50.1% to £5.2bn in 2020, equating to 8.3% of the online market.Clothing & footwear accounted for 61.3% of the online returns market in 2015, and is forecast to grow by 64.5% in the five years to 2020 – the strongest growth across all sectors. Larger parcels dominate the online returns market, accounting for 61.3% of the market in 2015, driven by clothing & footwear and electricals

Key Findings

  • The returns market will grow by 50.1% to £5.2bn in 2020, equating to 8.3% of the online market.
  • The penetration of consumers who have returned goods in 2014 is dominated by clothing & footwear at 33.9%, with the next nearest sector at 15.7% (food & grocery gifting). This is a function of being the most shopped category online, as well as higher levels of dissatisfaction when receiving products due to fit, sizing and fabric quality.
  • The mix of methods to return online bought goods and the array of motivating factors differs as a function of infrastructure and the nature of products in each sector.
  • Clothing & footwear, stands apart from other sectors with fit and returning excess products (34.0% and 10.9%) strong motivating factors. The sector is also more likely to see consumers utilise novel returning methods such as collection points (13.4%) – aided by retailer investment and the portability of the goods

Returns in clothing & footwear are significantly higher than in any other sector – at £2.1bn in 2015 – over three times the size of the next largest sector, electricals. We forecast clothing & footwear returns to reach £3.5bn in 2020, achieving the highest growth across all sectors. With shoppers often buying across many different brands, the issue of fit and sizing is the key reason for customer returns in clothing & footwear. Despite retailer investment in offering more sizing information and improving product images and video catwalks, it is still difficult for retailers to accurately convey quality, look and fit online. The use of virtual fitting room technology by providers such as Virtusize can offer shoppers the support and confidence they need to make purchases.

Reasons To Buy
  • Utilize expert insight and detailed data on online returns using consumer research to help form effective growth strategies surrounding this dimension of retail.
  • Includes detailed forecasts to 2020 on the value of online returns, how they are made and size of parcels.
  • Identifies hot issues and trends in this market.
  • Detailed breakdown on how people make returns by sector.
  • Understand the driving forces behind consumers making online returns

The hot issues
What people return
How people return
Why people return

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