Mar 7, 2022
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Over half of young shoppers won’t return unwanted international e-purchases

Mar 7, 2022

As many as 56% of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers won’t return unwanted international e-commerce purchases, a new study from Ireland-based cross-border shopping specialist ESW shows.

Photo: Pixabay

As post-Christmas returns soared in January and February, due to rising e-tail sales globally, ESW said Gen Z and Millennials were the most likely demographics to choose not to return unwanted items.

Its data, based on a survey of more than 14,000 consumers across 14 countries, shows that while these younger shoppers make up 60% of cross-border shoppers globally, 56% of them admitted they’d bought items from retailers based outside of their own countries but didn’t return them even though they were unwanted.

The reasons for this varied from the process being inconvenient (35%), or expensive (34%), and bad for the environment (20%). They were also influenced by the fact that the unwanted items hadn’t cost much (28%), unclear returns policies (26%) and a lack of local collection points (21%).

The markets where consumers overall were most likely to avoid returns were China (67%), India (64%) and UAE (64%), with women being 13% less likely to return unwanted items than men.

This is particularly worrying given that the first two of those three markets are among the biggest in the world and that women are bigger fashion shoppers in general.

While customers not returning items might be seen as a win for some businesses, in the long term it isn’t, given that shoppers are less likely to return to businesses that aren't offering slick and inexpensive returns options.

ESW’s CEO, Americas, Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne said that “eliminating the friction Gen Z and Millennials associate with returns will be a big win for all direct-to-consumer brands, as these young adults will continue to drive the growth in e-commerce in all markets.”

And the importance of this can also be seen from the fact that the company’s research has shown that more than 30% of Gen Z and 37% of Millennial shoppers have made 11+ cross border purchases in the past year alone.

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