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Survey Finds Delivery Delays Lead to Returns

shopping Returns
Survey Finds Delivery Delays Lead to Returns

With shipping carriers struggling to meet on-time delivery as Christmas Day nears, there’s bad news for online sellers – delivery delays lead to returns.

According to a survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by Propeller Insights for Ware2Go in October, 33% of people who said they returned an item before gifting it said it was because the item took too long to arrive.

Just over half (51%) of respondents said they have purchased a gift for someone and then returned it before gifting it. Among the other reasons cited:

  • 35% say that the item was not as pictured or described
  • 31% report that the fit wasn’t right
  • 31% ordered multiple options to compare

Ware2Go, a fulfillment company owned by UPS, said holiday ecommerce return rates are hovering around 30%. It found that among survey respondents, a 61% majority say an online merchant’s return policy is very important to their decision to make a purchase, and another 34% say it’s somewhat important. Only 6% are indifferent.

What sellers may find troubling: 80% expect to make holiday gift returns. However, for the most part, Americans act swiftly to return gifts they don’t plan to keep: 24% return in less than 1 week, 33% return in 1-2 weeks, and 18% take 2 weeks to 1 month to return.

Also of interest to online sellers: the survey found that 92% of Americans plan to shop post-holiday (typically only 72%). Respondents varied when it came to how quickly they planned to jump back into shopping after the holiday season:

  • 31% intend to shop within a few days after the holidays
  • 34% plan to shop within the month of January
  • 23% say they will wait 2-3 months before shopping again.

You can find an infographic of the findings on the Ware2go.co website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.