Survey: Customers making online returns like the personal touch

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Survey: Customers making online returns like the personal touch

By Dan Berthiaume - 01/08/2021

Even when consumers don’t purchase a product in a brick-and-mortar store, they prefer to return it there.

According to a new survey of 2,200 U.S. adults conducted in late December by data intelligence company Morning Consult, shoppers looking to return online items prefer in-person transactions over returning items by mail. 

Of the 18% of respondents planning to return at least one gift they received during the 2020 holiday season, almost three-quarters (74%) said they will do so by bringing it back to the store. Less than one-third (31%) of respondents planning to return at least one gift they received during the 2020 holiday season said they anticipate making a return by mail. 

This is despite 2020’s surge in e-commerce and subsequent flood of package deliveries. Returns from the 2020 season could total as much as $70.5 billion, a whopping 73% increase from the previous five-year average, according to a recent report from commercial real estate firm CBRE.

Retailers including Target, Walmart, and even Amazon have instituted brick-and-mortar options to return online holiday purchases.