British Retailers to receive £223m-worth of returned Christmas presents

Following a successful Christmas period which saw online retailers smash sales records, consumers are now expected to send back a record-breaking £223 million-worth of unwanted gifts.

January 6 was identified as the peak day for online returns, according to courier service ParcelHero. Almost two thirds (62 per cent) of UK consumers will send back an unwanted gift that either they bought for someone else or that was bought for them ahead of Christmas in 2014, reports.

The amount to be returned by UK consumers alone represents a significant increase on 2013’s returns, which saw only 51 per cent of people send back something. With UK shoppers spending a record £2.9 billion online on Boxing Day, reports, it’s likely there will be more returns to come.

James Gambrell, chief executive of virtual fitting room business, has suggested that each returned item costs retailers between £10 and £15 before the item is resold. The fact that many UK retailers are also allowing overseas returns is also hurting bottom lines, he suggests.

“Ultimately, offering free returns is how online retailers have overcome consumer hesitation [when ordering online]. But they have become a victim of their own success, because now consumers expect it, so retailers who don’t offer it will often lose business,” he added.

Author: Jack Stanton