Consumers value easy returns; Amazon's policy favored

Zachary Russell
Digital Editor
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Amazon returns
On average, 78% of Americans prefer Amazon as their online vendor.

A large majority of Americans are satisfied with Amazon’s return process overall, which comes with beneficial ripple effects for the e-commerce giant.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans who shop online at least once a month from Upgraded Points, 72% of respondents expressed positive sentiments toward Amazon's return process overall, with baby boomers reporting the most satisfaction, and Gen Zers the least satisfaction.

"Our study highlights the significant impact of Amazon and its customer-centric process," said Keri Stooksbury, editor-in-chief at Upgraded Points. "The Amazon paradigm heralded a major change in consumer expectations that we now see reflected across the entire retail industry."

Having a strong return policy that customers are happy with has proven to be beneficial for Amazon.  According to Upgraded Points’ report, online shoppers are twice as likely to purchase additional items or add-ons if they can get free returns, rather than just 2-day shipping. 

Also, on average, 78% of Americans prefer Amazon as their online vendor, and more males (78%) claim to use it than females (70%).

Top reasons shoppers look to return items include an item being defective or broken (54.7%), missing or having broken parts (37.8%), receiving the wrong item (20.3%), and receiving a damaged product (20.5%). 

Online shoppers are most likely to make returns during January (51%) rather than November (14%) or December (28%). They also find themselves making more holiday returns after the winter gift-giving holiday season (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) (59%) than to Black Friday (17%), Cyber Monday (8%) and Amazon Prime Day (16%) combined.

Other findings from the Upgraded Points survey include the following:

  • Fifty-two percent of Americans predominantly shop online, while 14% prefer in-store, and 34% use both.
  • Women exhibit a higher average rate of returning online orders compared to men.
  • Twenty-two percent of Americans confess to using an item before returning it, with Gen Zers being the most frequent culprits. Thirteen percent of Americans have falsely claimed that an item was damaged to complete a return.
  • Nearly 9 in every 10 shoppers (87%) will not return an item if they have to pay for the return shipping.

"Our findings clearly show that Amazon's efficient return process has definitely raised the bar for other retailers, often forcing competitors to offer equally streamlined return experiences if they want to keep customers," added Stooksbury.

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