Returns are a significant concern in the ecommerce sector, having cost US retailers a substantial $817 billion in 2022

Furthermore, it’s estimated that profits could see a spike of approximately 25% if the number of returns were to be reduced by half. 

Grasping the financial implications of this aspect, let me share the most crucial ecommerce return statistics you should be aware of right away. πŸ”„πŸ’°

Ecommerce Returns Statistics: The Key Data

  • The average ecommerce return rate is 16.4%, compared to 16.5% for in-store purchases.
  • Profits could increase by approximately 25% if the number of returns was cut in half.
  • Exchange shoppers are 33.80% more likely to buy again than non-exchange shoppers.
  • Retail returns in the US cost $817 billion in 2022. 
  • Online shoppers return $212 billion and in-store shoppers $603 billion in 2022.
  • 89% of customers are less likely to buy from a store after a bad return experience.
  • 96% of customers are more likely to buy from a store again if it has a good return policy.
  • 50% of customers abandoned a purchase due to a lack of return channel options.
  • 56% of customers were discouraged from shopping on an ecommerce site due to its return policies.
  • 69% do not wish to pay return shipping costs.
  • The majority of e-commerce returns (60%) are due to issues with fit or quality.
  • 30% of all returns are the result of customers changing their mind.

Sources: (Linkedin, HBR, Loop Returns, Statista, NRF, Retail Dive, Digital Commerce 360, Sale Cycle, CNBC.)

More Data: eCommerce Statistics: Sales, Traffic, and More (Latest)

Ecommerce Return Rate at 16.4%, Mirroring 16.5% for In-Store Buys.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
E-commerce and in-store return rates are nearly identical.The marginal 0.1% difference suggests that return behaviors are consistent across both shopping modes.
The reasons for returns may differ, but their prevalence remains uniform.While the nature or reason for returns might vary between online and physical store purchases, the frequency is remarkably consistent, emphasizing a broader industry challenge.
It’s crucial for businesses to refine both online and offline return policies.Given the comparable return rates, it’s imperative for retailers to streamline their return processes for both channels to enhance customer experience and trust.

Source: Linkedin

Halving Returns Could Boost Profits by a Whopping 25%.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
Halving returns can lead to a significant surge in profitability.A potential 25% profit increase underscores the profound financial implications associated with return rates in retail.
Efficiently addressing the root causes of returns is a key strategic move.By identifying and mitigating factors leading to returns, businesses can unlock considerable revenue potential.
Investment in quality assurance and customer experience optimization is non-negotiable.The substantial profit gains that can be achieved by reducing returns emphasize the importance of perfecting product offerings and the overall shopping experience.

Source: HBR

Exchange Shoppers 33.80% More Likely to Re-Purchase than Others.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
Exchange processes can foster deeper customer loyalty and retention.The 33.80% higher likelihood of repurchase from exchange shoppers highlights the potent bond formed during the exchange process.
Businesses that streamline their exchange procedures can capitalize on repeat business.By ensuring a smooth and customer-centric exchange experience, companies can significantly boost their chances of securing subsequent sales.
Embracing exchanges rather than merely processing returns can be a strategic advantage.Viewing exchanges as an opportunity rather than an operational challenge can pave the way for enhanced customer relationships and revenue growth.

Source: Loop Returns

US Retail Returns Cost a Staggering $817 Billion in 2022.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
The financial ramifications of returns are monumental in the US retail sector.An astounding $817 billion loss due to returns underscores the sheer magnitude of this operational challenge for retailers.
Efficient return management can lead to substantial cost savings.Given the significant financial impact, refining return processes and policies can result in marked fiscal benefits.
Delving into preventive measures is equally critical as managing the return process.Beyond optimizing the return process itself, retailers must focus on pre-emptive strategies, such as quality control and accurate product descriptions, to curtail the high cost of returns.

Source: Statista

2022 Sees $212 Billion Online Returns, In-Store at $603 Billion.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
In-store shopping, despite digital growth, continues to see higher return values.The contrast between the $603 billion in-store and $212 billion online returns suggests that physical retail still plays a dominant role in the return landscape.
Addressing in-store returns should be a top priority for retailers.With nearly three times the return value of online shopping, brick-and-mortar return processes and prevention strategies require focused attention.
The digital shopping experience, though significant, has a lower return footprint.The disparity in return values accentuates the importance of refining the online shopping experience but also showcases its relatively lesser return burden compared to in-store shopping.

Source: NRF

Bad Return Experience Deters 89% of Potential Customers.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
Overwhelming majority avoid stores after poor returns.A significant 89% drop in likelihood to purchase indicates a direct correlation between a store’s return experience and its sales potential.
Return experience greatly impacts brand loyalty.When nearly 9 out of 10 customers shy away after a bad experience, it underscores the importance of a smooth return process in building and maintaining customer loyalty.
Efficient return process is crucial for business.A subpar return experience can heavily deter customers, hence, businesses should prioritize refining this aspect to sustain and grow their customer base.

Source: Retail Dive

Robust Return Policy Sways 96% of Shoppers to Repeat Purchase.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
Good return policies strongly drive repeat business.A staggering 96% inclination towards repurchasing suggests a direct link between a store’s return policy and its ability to retain customers.
Return policy is pivotal for customer loyalty.When almost all customers (96%) prefer stores with good return policies, it emphasizes the undeniable role of such policies in fostering and cementing customer loyalty.
Refining return policies is a business imperative.With the vast majority of customers favoring stores with favorable return policies, businesses must prioritize perfecting this aspect to secure and grow their customer base.

Source: Digital Commerce 360

Lack of Return Options Forces 50% Shoppers to Abandon Carts.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
Half of potential sales are lost due to limited return channels.A substantial 50% of customers forgo purchases, indicating a direct correlation between a store’s return channel options and its sales conversion rate.
Diverse return channels are vital for sales completion.With half of the customers abandoning purchases, it’s evident that offering a range of return channels is crucial for securing a sale and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Investing in multiple return options is a business necessity.The stark loss of potential sales to limited return options underscores the urgent need for businesses to diversify and expand their return channels.

Source: Sale Cycle

56% Deterred by Unfavorable Ecommerce Return Policies.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
A majority are deterred by unsatisfactory return policies.The notable 56% of customers discouraged from shopping signifies a clear link between an ecommerce site’s return policies and its potential customer base.
Return policies are a decisive factor for online shoppers.Over half of potential customers base their shopping decision on the return policy, emphasizing its critical role in the online shopping experience.
Ecommerce platforms must prioritize robust return policies.To remain competitive and retain customer trust, online businesses must craft and communicate comprehensive and customer-centric return policies.

Source: Sale Cycle

69% Shoppers Oppose Paying for Return Shipping Costs.

Important takeaway:

Insight from DataRationale
A majority are averse to bearing return shipping costs.The significant 69% of individuals reluctant to pay underscores the prevalent sentiment against incurring return shipping expenses.
Return shipping costs can be a deterrent for shoppers.With well over half of customers being discouraged by such costs, it’s evident that return shipping expenses play a pivotal role in purchase decisions.
Eliminating return shipping costs can enhance customer loyalty.To attract and retain customers, businesses should consider absorbing return shipping costs or offering alternative solutions.

Source: CNBC