Research: 71% of UK consumers to avoid online shopping if they have to pay to return

New research from Appinio found that 71% of UK consumers would avoid shopping online if they were required to pay to return the items.

The study of 1,000 consumers comes off the back of the news that fashion retailer Zara is halting its free returns processes and starting to charge customers.

To avoid doing so, 67% would be willing to travel to a store to return their order in person, while 63% are likely to shop online less if return postage costs become more common.

Consumers surveyed that have a high annual income are the most likely to say they’ll avoid shopping online if they’re required to pay for the postage of their online orders (£75,000 – £100,000 at 87%; £100,000 and over at 84%).

A further 94% of respondents say free returns are important to them when shopping online, with 18% always shop at particular online stores because they have a free returns policy.

The study also found that 31% of Brits believe that tackling ‘haul culture’ – where Instagram and TikTok users bulk buy items to show their followers – is the main reason that retailers are choosing to stop free returns.

Data showed that male consumers are more concerned about the possibility of paying for returns than female consumers (57% vs. 51%).

Around 46% of respondents said free returns dictate their online store choices often.

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