As I was packaging up another dress to ship back to the store (I’ve been trying to find a new dress for an upcoming wedding), I was thinking about the amount of returns there must be to all types of stores and for all types of products. So, I decided to do some research and share it with you!

What has your experience been with returns? Do you find yourself frequently returning items, especially ones you buy online? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Return Rates

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $165 million in merchandise returns. And, for every $100 in returned merchandise accepted, retailers lose $10.40 to return fraud. In the NRF’s 2022 survey, the expectation of fraud, even when a receipt is present, jumped to 14% from 9.8% (43% year over year).

When asked about the most returned purchases by category, 26% of consumers chose clothing as their answer, followed by bags and accessories (19%) and shoes (18%). Now, let’s move on to some of the reasons for returns.

Return Reasons

When asked why they returned items, 81% of online shoppers said the item was damaged or defective.

Other reasons included:

Item doesn’t fit
Item doesn’t match description
Don’t like the item(s)
Ordered multiple items/sizes
Item arrived late

According to Shopify, on average, holiday return rates stay around 17.9% each year. Whether it’s returning a gift that someone didn’t like, or trying to reclaim some money spent in a holiday-inspired splurge, it’s why the most returns are received throughout December, January, and February.

We all want a good returns experience, right? Data shows that nearly 80% of U.S. online shoppers are less likely to shop from the same retailer again if they have a poor returns experience. Wow!

Return Info for Panel Members

As an NCP panel member we ask that you scan all the items you buy from all types of stores. But, what happens when you return an item? If you return a purchase, you won’t be able to tell us about it. But, you can tell us if you buy a replacement. So, if you do buy a replacement item, or something different, please remember to scan the purchase to let us know!


woman on phone

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