As reported in the Financial Times, it is estimated that in the US consumers will return $100B worth of goods (just from Thanksgiving and Christmas).
Clothing is particularly problematic as online shoppers, unsure of exactly what they are buying, are ordering several versions of the same articles with different sizes and colours.
“Shoppers are using their homes as dressing rooms,” said Sucharita Kodali, a former executive at department store chain Saks who is now a consultant with Forrester. About half of womenswear typically goes back, she said.
To put the $100B number into context – the total sales during the period are projected to be around $1.1T, so the returns component is around 9%.
I hadn’t read this when I posted my Inefficient Incentives post a few days ago. I shouldn’t be surprised I guess, but I am. I didn’t realise how massive the issue is.