UK sitting on unreturned goods worth £2.4bn

British shoppers are sitting on around £2.4 billion worth of unreturned online purchases, because lockdown restrictions have made returning goods more difficult.

New research by UK locker network InPost found that 57 per cent of online shoppers say returning items bought online is “time-consuming and a hassle given lockdown restrictions,” while 45 per cent say retailers need to make returning goods easier in the current circumstances.

The data also revealed that over half of those with items to return have accumulated more items to return over the course of the January lockdown than they would typically have.

The research, which is based on a survey of more than 2000 UK adults conducted at the end of last month, also found 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.

British online shoppers also identified social distancing when undertaking returns as a concern.

54 per cent of those surveyed said that they were 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 per cent) say retailers need to have a contact-free returns option.

A further 65 per cent of shoppers said they don’t want to spend time queuing at Post Offices or parcel drop-off shops.

“It’s clear that shoppers are struggling to return goods during the current restrictions and lockdown,” said Jason Tavaria, UK chief executive, InPost. “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.

He added: “The issue of difficult returns appears to be even more acute for the nation’s key workers, including healthcare and emergency service staff. This group told us that they have more items waiting to be returned, find it harder to return them given the current restrictions, and are more likely to end up keeping purchases bought online because returning them was too difficult.”

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