Lockdown Logjam: UK shoppers sitting on £2.4 billion of unreturned goods bought online

People with unreturned goods have an average of £165 tied up in unwanted items

Around a fifth of people expect their spending to increase again once lockdown
restrictions lift

London, 10th February 2021: UK shoppers are sitting on a potential £2.4 billion of unreturned goods they have purchased online, as lockdown restrictions have made returning unwanted items significantly harder for them.

This is according to new research released today from InPost, the UK’s leading locker network, which finds that well over half (57%) of online shoppers say returning items bought online is time-consuming and a hassle given lockdown restrictions, and (45%) say retailers need to make returning goods easier in the current circumstances.

As a result, over half of those with items to return (51%) say they have accumulated more items to return over the course of the January lockdown than they would typically have.

The new data – based on a survey of over 2,000 UK adults conducted at the end of January by Opinium – finds that those who have unwanted purchases have an average of three items waiting to be returned, with a total approximate value of £165 per person.

Online shoppers also indicate that social distancing when undertaking returns remains a concern. Over half (54%) say they are concerned about coming into contact with other people at a Post Office, parcel drop-off shop or when in a store to return goods, and nearly two-thirds (62%) say retailers need to have a contact-free returns option.

In addition, almost two-thirds (65%) say they don’t want to spend time queuing at Post Offices or parcel drop-off shops to return items; in contrast 42% say that having a parcel drop-off point near their home would encourage them to make a return sooner than they would normally.

With just under half (46%) of people saying they are more cautious about spending whilst they are waiting for a refund on goods they’ve returned to a retailer, it’s clear that the quicker and easier retailers can make the returns process, the better for people’s pockets and for the economy.

Jason Tavaria, UK CEO at InPost, commented: “It’s clear that shoppers are struggling to return goods during the current restrictions and lockdown. With no firm end to these in sight, it’s vital that retailers make it easier for people to return goods during this period by offering a wider range of returns options, including local parcel drop-off points such as lockers. Not only will they be rewarded with better stock control and improved customer loyalty, they will also be well positioned with customers once restrictions lift and spending increases again.”