Recent research by leading digital payment solutions provider takepayments has revealed businesses are losing up to £121 million in returns. 

Analysing data from takepayments POS machines between 2021-23, the statistics revealed which areas of the UK are the worst ‘serial returners’ when shopping, alongside the industries that are being affected the most.

Not surprisingly, Londoners were the worst when it came to refunds, the capital accounted for nearly ten per cent of all UK returns and a total of over £12 million.

Nottingham came in at second with this city having a return value of over £2.2 million while Chichester and counties of Kent and Lancashire also came in the top ten.

The digital payments provider commissioned the survey to raise awareness of the costly trend ‘buy, try, return, repeat’ which is costing businesses on average £20 every return.

It’s no surprise the research also revealed the industry which processes the highest number of refunds was retail. Building materials and automobile sales also made up a significant proportion of the returns pool.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Talking about the data and how consumer returns behaviour might look in 2024, takepayments product manager, John Clark, said: “Our data shows that a staggering £121 million was sent back to businesses between 2021 and 2023. If online returns are costing retailers £20 per parcel on average due to shipping, that’s an estimated loss of over £8 million to e-commerce businesses all across the country. With more consumers shopping online, we’ll likely see a corresponding rise in the volume of returns, particularly in sectors like clothing and electronics, in 2024.

“To try and minimise the damaging cost of returns, businesses should implement a system to track and analyse the reasons behind returns by including a feedback form to address underlying issues. It’s also essential to ensure all product information is accurate and detailed – such as high-quality imagery and sizing charts – to help consumers make a more informed choice.

“Businesses should also be vigilant against the growing concern of returns fraud. Some consumers use dishonest tactics to gain a refund, such as falsely claiming the product was damaged or missing.

“In the coming year, we hope to see a greater emphasis on sustainable and responsible return practices. Consumers are becoming increasingly more eco-conscious, which will likely influence their decisions regarding returns. Businesses might respond by offering more sustainable packaging options, scrapping free returns to discourage ‘buy, try, return, repeat’ behaviour, or even encouraging exchanges over refunds to reduce waste.”

Top Ten Cities/Towns By Highest Value of Return:

  1. London – 9.9%
  2. Nottingham – 1.8%
  3. Birmingham – 1.5%
  4. Chichester – 1.5%
  5. Manchester – 1.4%
  6. Bromley – 1.3%
  7. Wellingborough – 1.3%
  8. Blackpool – 1.1%
  9. Bradford – 1.1%
  10. Doncaster – 1%