With annual shopping spike dates of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas fast approaching, new research shows the need for retailers to educate consumers on the returns options available to them

New research conducted by independent research company, Opinion Matters, reveals that students are by the far the biggest returner of goods with 50% of those surveyed returning anywhere between 11 and 25% of purchases. Moreover, 42% of students stated that they would only purchase from a retailer with a free returns policy and who make it easy to return goods. The research, commissioned by leading SaaS parcel data management platform company NetDespatch, polled over 1200 UK online shoppers to better understand consumer opinion on returning purchased items both online and in-store.

The survey was undertaken to understand how consumer habits are governed by ease and convenience of returns and whether the widening of returns methods has resulted in a change in consumer returns behaviour. The research examined male versus female opinion, age demographics and working status.

“The results from the survey clearly highlight the pressing need for retailers to further educate consumers about all the different returns options that are now available to them,” said Matthew Robertson, Commercial Director, NetDespatch. “At NetDespatch we believe that this lack of understanding around returns means that consumers are opting for the more traditional options which are not always the most convenient or practical. In today’s 24/7 world, surely waiting at home for a courier to collect a parcel is time that consumers would prefer spending on more productive tasks.”

Some of the UK consumer return habits and drivers associated with returns that were identified in the the Many Happy Returns study are below:

Matthew Robertson concluded: “With the growth of cross-border ecommerce, investing in this area is essential for SMEs and bigger businesses alike. Many consumers are just becoming aware of the opportunities to buy outside the UK. Retailers need to offer broader options to allow these items to safely arrive in the country, and in good time, especially around shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday and with Christmas fast approaching.”

To see a copy of the full results of the study and details of some of the other UK consumer return habits that were identified, click below.