Whistl launch report on UK e-commerce returns trends in 2024

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Whistl, logistics specialists in e-fulfilment, mail and parcels has launched a report on ecommerce returns covering UK consumer trends in 2024 and an associated best practice guide.



Findings from the report suggest the rise in eCommerce returns shows no sign of slowing down as both consumers and retailers prioritise hassle-free shopping experiences. Customers expect online returns to be at no or low-cost and as seamless as possible while eCommerce businesses find themselves working harder than ever to streamline their returns management processes and minimise the cost of returns.

The report, based upon third party research, highlights that the worldwide reverse logistics (returns) market is expected to grow by $250bn over the next five years to $954.5bn. Focusing on the UK, it points out that:

1. 71% of UK online shoppers return items

2. Online parcel returns typically cost £3 more compared to in-store returns

3. Clothing (27%), Shoes (15%) and Bags & Accessories (14%) are the most returned items by UK consumers

4. False damage and refund claims top the list of return reasons while nearly a third of online consumers falsely claim they’d never received their item

5. 38% online shoppers said they now feel more confident in returning online purchases

6. 65% of UK online shoppers expect returns to be free under any circumstance

7. 57% of consumers are willing to pay more for products if they’re produced and transported in a way that doesn’t harm the environment

The report’s best practice for managing eCommerce returns covers:

1. Effective ways to reduce eCommerce returns, including understanding reasons for returns and a review supply chain inefficiencies

2. Ways to manage returns including return to store; outsource to a 3PL provider; or outsource Returns Management through a consolidator platform

Melanie Darvall, Director of Marketing and Communications, Whistl, said: ‘If online retailers don’t manage their returns effectively, it will have a significant impact on their sales and profitability. They also risk losing competitive advantage to retailers offering an easier, faster and more efficient returns journey. By adopting new systems and ways of working it is possible to reduce the number of returns while boosting revenue and customer satisfaction.’

A copy of the report is available here.

About Whistl - Whistl is a £770m+ revenue, delivery management company that provides mail, parcels, leaflet advertising, fulfilment and contact centre services in the UK and internationally. Headquartered in Marlow, the Whistl group of companies operate across the UK, and handles in excess of 3.6bn items a year.