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Survey: Bad returns policy is big turnoff to future purchases

returning box

Retailers’ returns policy can have a big impact on whether a holiday gift is even purchased.

According to a survey by shipping software provider ShipStation, 84% of respondents say a fast, easy returns process drives repeat purchases following a return. What’s more, 95% of respondents say a bad returns experience would make them less likely to purchase from a retailer again in the future.

In the survey, 86% of respondents say they have returned a holiday gift. And 55% expect to return as many or more gifts from the 2019 holiday season as they have in previous years.

Not all products are created equal when it comes to returns. Gift categories returned by the highest percentages of consumers include clothing (85%), shoes (28%), and electronics (25%). Conversely, hardly anyone returns pet supplies (1%), musical instruments (1%), or furniture (2%).

Top reasons for returning holiday gifts include fit issues (74%), not liking an item (55%), knowing you won’t use an item (41%), defective products (27%), and receiving duplicate gifts (22%).

Other interesting statistics include:

  • 67% of respondents make returns within one week of the holiday, with 6% returning items the following day.
  • Consumers expect to have an average of 32 days to make a return.
  • 77% of respondents prefer to make returns in-store.
  • 71% of respondents prefer a cash or credit refund in exchange for a returned gift.
  • Two in three respondents consider a retailer’s return policy when purchasing a gift.
  • Nearly two in three respondents have decided not to purchase a gift due to a retailer’s return policy.
  • 59% of respondents say the ability to get a full refund is the most important factor about a return policy.
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