Retailers Face A Post-Holiday Surge In Returns, Study Shows

Ecommerce returns are soaring and merchants are trying to cope with the rush, according to a new two-party study from Kount. 

Of 1,088 consumers polled, 36% say they typically return five or more items for a refund.

Younger people are more likely to behave this way — 51% of Gen Zers do so, along with 46% of millennials and 44% of Gen Xers. But only 8% of Baby Boomers follow suit. 

Consumers are taking advantage of liberal returns policies — 39% say they would return something they have worn or used even if it wasn’t defective.

And 60% of Gen Zers, 53% of millennials and 53% of Gen Xers would buy extra items to hit a sale/free shipping threshold, then return the extra items. 

That aside, 60% of consumers worry most about data breaches and the credibility of online retailers. And stores share their concern — over 20% expect more frequent data breaches to cause significant challenges this holiday season.  

Meanwhile, consumers abandon online shopping carts for these reasons: 

High shipping costs — 52%

Long estimated shipping/delivery times — 40%

Complicated ordering and checkout processes — 27%

Those are only some of the many pressures facing retailers. 

A fourth of shoppers say they will not return to a site that has turned them away from a legitimate transaction. 

Of the 501 businesses polled, 40% have seen an increase in credit-card chargebacks. Yet 54% consumers who question a charge on their statement would call the credit-card company or bank, not the company connected with the purchase. And 89% would not first contact that firm.  

And while almost 75% of retailers expect a YoY increase in digital sales this year, over 50% do not anticipate in-store sales volumes to return to pre-pandemic levels even after the crisis subsides.  

Retailers and shoppers disagree on this, with 64% of merchants saying in-store sales will be key this season and only 43% of shoppers saying they concur.

On another front, 56% of firms foresee inventory issues and issues in shipping items on time. An identical percentage of consumers are concerned about this issue. 

More than half of consumers prefer free shipping over deals and promotions. 

“Now is the time to be reviewing, analyzing and implementing the resources needed to address the accelerated shift to ecommerce, which is sure to continue beyond this season,” concludes Brad Wiskirchen, CEO of Kount. 

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