Returns technology provider ZigZag has found that almost half of all returns made across Black Friday and Cyber Monday were paid returns (43%). However, the overall number of returns over this period has plateaued year on year, with a 0.5% decrease. This is significantly different from 2022, where there was a substantial 8% increase in returns on the previous year.
These statistics are likely due to the reported 12% drop in online sales over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which many are attributing to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and also the fact that Black Friday fell slightly earlier in November 2023, just before November payday for many. This is supported by the fact that the value of items was also down 3.7% on last year in the UK and 10.4% globally. ZigZag analysed its proprietary data, which was drawn from its UK and global retail clients.
The company found that shoppers are changing how they make their returns as well. Home collection is proving to be increasingly popular with an 82% year-on-year increase, due to the convenience it offers shoppers. Locker drop-offs also saw an impressive 76% increase on last year and accounted for almost one in five returns (17%).
Al Gerrie, CEO at ZigZag, commented, “With more and more retailers moving to charge shoppers for returns, it’s no surprise that almost half of returns were paid. However, this is a positive sign for retailers as it shows that shoppers are willing to pay for returns, allowing them to recoup some of the losses returns bring.
“What’s really interesting is the change of returns methods, the locker option in particular has become more popular. As lockers were introduced, they were predominantly only available in large towns and cities but now, as more have become available nationwide, shoppers are choosing to use them for convenience. Retailers have also clocked on to the fact that more people are working from home and so, the home collection option is a must-have.”
Another find from ZigZag’s returns data was the increase in sizing issues being the reason for returns. While sizing has always been the dominant reason for returns, particularly in fast fashion, in 2023 there was a significant 22% increase in shoppers stating size issues as the reason for their returns compared to 2022.
Discussing sizing issues, Al said, “The issue of sizing is not going to be resolved any time soon. However, if retailers want to reduce how significantly it impacts returns they should be implementing accurate sizing guides, reviews and imagery. Another option, which I expect to see increase in popularity next year, is live exchanges. That way, if the size isn’t right, shoppers don’t have to return and then rebuy.”
Read more key returns updates from the parcel and postal technology industry, here.