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BizReport : Ecommerce : January 08, 2016

Retale: 24% of consumers to return at least one Christmas gift

According to location-based mobile platform Retale, a quarter of consumers in the U.S. are likely to return, or exchange, at least one gift they received in the recent holiday season.

by Helen Leggatt

January is a time when retailers have to cope with a plethora of returns. Gifts are returned for a variety of reasons, some of which the recipient may not want to reveal to the person from whom they received the gift.

According to Retale, while three-quarters (72%) of consumers were 'very pleased' with the gifts they received at Christmas, 24% of consumers (extrapolated from the 500 U.S. adults surveyed between December 28 - 31 2015) said they were likely to return, or exchange, at least one.

The most likely gift to be returned was jewelry, cited by 32%, followed by electronics (29%), gift cards (27%), clothes and apparel (26%) and home decor/improvement items (23%). The top reasons for returning, or exchanging, a gift were having no need of it (44%), the item was defective (34%) or that store credit was preferred (9%).

Returning unwanted gifts to a store was, by far, the most popular (64%), although it is slightly down on the 70% who stated this preference last year. Just 12% preferred to return via an online method and a quarter (24%) had no preference. In-store returns was also the method consumers found most convenient (75%), more so than online returns (54%).

"Customers like the convenience of being able to return anything in-store," said Pat Dermody, President of Retale. "While retailers advocate this multichannel experience, they are fast coming to understand that processing returns in-store, for purchases made online and with free-shipping, comes with an additional cost. Whether they will ultimately be able to absorb the impact and continue to offer this convenience to multi-channel shoppers, without charging them, remains to be seen."

In the weeks before Christmas 2015, the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecast 3.5% of holiday gift returns will be fraudulent. In total, holiday shopping fraud is expected to cost retailers $2.2 billion this year.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: retail, returns

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