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Online Returns in the UK - Verdict Channel Report

Online Returns in the UK - Verdict Channel Report


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Executive Summary

Growing online returns is an unavoidable consequence of online retail growth; however, some sectors have become more susceptible to changing consumer habits than others. This report analyses online returns by sector and by delivery size, as well as trends and shopper profiles.

Key Findings

Make informed investment decisions by utilising 2014 returns data & 2019 forecasts, based on inputs including Verdict's survey of 10,000 UK shoppers.

Learn which shoppers to avoid by identifying them via our online shopper profiles of those that return by sector.

Understand the key issues and opportunities in technology than can help to lower returns in the clothing & footwear sector.

Synopsis

The value of returned products from online purchases in the UK is forecast to grow by over 50% between 2014-2019. While the growth of online shopping is a key driver of this, retailers' investment in offering free and easy returns via multiple methods has also aided growth as shoppers opt to make multiple purchases knowing they can return easily.

Clothing & footwear returns are significantly higher than in any other sector - almost three times the size of electricals. Fit and sizing remain the key reasons for customer returns, despite retailer investment in improving images and product information. Virtual fitting room technology is a must to give shoppers the confidence to buy.

The strength of Black Friday trading in the UK not only changed the phasing of spending in the run up to Christmas, but it also altered the returns market. Wider choice of returns methods and a greater understanding of the impact of promotional activity on returns are required in order to avoid delays to the returns process.

Reasons To Buy

What is the size of online returns in the UK and how fast will they grow in the next five years?

Which customers are the most likely to return online purchases and what sectors do they shop in?

What are the most common reasons for online returns?

What are the most common methods of returning online purchases?

As a clothing & footwear retailer, how can I minimise returns?

1 Overview

2 Outlook

2.1 Growing volumes and ease of returns increase value of returns

2.2 Multichannel clothing & footwear retailers exposed to high returns

2.3 Larger returns dominate

2.4 Majority of returns are made via the Post Office, but PUDO sees strongest growth

2.5 More product detail could reduce returns

2.6 Anticipating peak returns volumes imperative

2.7 Charging for returns now an outdated view

3 Market Summary and Forecast

3.1 Market forecast

3.2 Clothing & footwear shoppers most likely to return goods

3.2.1 Clothing & footwear penetration more than double that of all other sectors

3.3 Method of return

3.4 Reason for return

3.4.1 More detail on product could reduce returns

4 Trends

4.1 Investment in delivery must be replicated for returns

4.1.1 Retailers must meet consumer demand for choice of returns methods

4.1.2 Charging for returns to be phased out

4.2 Preparation imperative ahead of peak returns periods

4.2.1 Strong discounting culture weighs heavily on returns market

4.2.2 Unprecedented volumes generated by Black Friday

4.2.3 Lessons to be learned

4.3 Visibility is key to quicken the returns process

4.4 Avoiding shoppers that return frequently

4.5 Tackling returns vital for clothing & footwear retailers to protect margins as returns soar

4.5.1 Invest in 3D technology during product design

4.5.2 Video catwalks make the most impact

4.5.3 Adoption of virtual fit technology to grow

4.5.4 Fewer footwear players seize opportunities to aid customers on sizing

5 Sector Analysis

5.1 Books

5.1.1 Low returns in books sector

5.2 Clothing & footwear

5.2.1 Clothing & footwear returns highest in the market

5.3 DIY & gardening

5.3.1 Low returns growth

5.4 Electricals

5.4.1 Considered electricals purchases result in fewer returns

5.5 Furniture & floorcoverings

5.5.1 Augmented reality will help to diminish furniture & floorcoverings returns

5.6 Food & grocery

5.6.1 Low returns in food & grocery sector

5.7 Health & beauty

5.7.1 Health & beauty returns limited by replacement purchases and retailers refusing returns

5.8 Homewares

5.8.1 Rise in return of smaller homewares items

5.9 Music & video

5.9.1 Music & video returns limited due to downloads

6 Methodology

6.1 Collection and returns

7 Appendix

7.1 About Verdict Retail

7.2 Disclaimer

Figure 1: Returns total market forecast (GBPm), 2014 and 2019e

Figure 2: Returns as a proportion of online sales (GBPm), 2014 and 2019e

Figure 3: Returns market size by delivery size (%), 2014

Figure 4: Sector penetration of shoppers who have returned goods over the last year (%), 2014

Figure 5: F&F utilisation of Lectra technology, January 2015

Figure 6: Mifitto technology on Bild Shop, January 2015

Figure 7: Safe Size 3D foot scan in Brantano store, January 2015

Figure 8: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned books (%), 2014

Figure 9: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned books (%), 2014

Figure 10: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned clothing & footwear (%), 2014

Figure 11: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned clothing & footwear (%), 2014

Figure 12: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned DIY & gardening (%), 2014

Figure 13: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned DIY & gardening (%), 2014

Figure 14: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned electricals (%), 2014

Figure 15: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned electricals (%), 2014

Figure 16: Made Unboxed, 2014

Figure 17: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned furniture & floorcoverings (%), 2014

Figure 18: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned furniture & floorcoverings (%), 2014

Figure 19: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned food & grocery (%), 2014

Figure 20: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned food & grocery (%), 2014

Figure 21: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned health & beauty (%), 2014

Figure 22: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned health & beauty (%), 2014

Figure 23: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned homewares (%), 2014

Figure 24: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned homewares (%), 2014

Figure 25: Demographic penetration of online shoppers that have returned music & video (%), 2014

Figure 26: Demographic profile of online shoppers that have returned music & video (%), 2014

Table 1: Returns market size (GBPm) and growth rates (%) by sector, 2014 and 2019e

Table 2: Value of online returns by size (GBPm), 2014

Table 3: Ways that purchases were returned (%), 2014

Table 4: Why purchases were returned (%), 2014

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