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Study Reveals The New Norms For Returns By Brits

The Christmas period is a hotspot for returns, in the wake of the Black Friday and Cyber Week sales period.

With Christmas around the corner, a study by Payit by NatWest with OnePoll asked people to reveal what prompts them to return products.

Research shows that when gifted an item Brits don’t like or need, a generous 40 per cent donate their gift to a charity shop and 37 per cent would make plans to re-gift the item to somebody who would enjoy it more.

Only 19 per cent would go as far as to return the gift and claim back the money or credit, and 26 per cent would put it in a drawer to revisit at a later date.

Over the festive period, there is often a pressure to purchase gifts for friends and family, which can leave shoppers feeling financially stretched.

However, the research commissioned by Payit by NatWest, shows that 57 per cent of respondents are confident in their financial position this year, despite the ongoing cost of living crisis.


CEO of Payit by NatWest, Mike Elliff:

“In the run up to Christmas, consumers are showing confidence and willing to spend on their loved ones. Purchasing presents is often done with the heart on a spontaneous whim.”

”Having an accurate overview and control over your finances will help shoppers this year make informed purchase decision.”

“At a time when everyone needs their money available right now, no one can wait for delayed refunds. Speed is critical for Brits and for businesses.”

The research reveals that half of Brits say they have returned a product they’ve purchased for themselves in the past year. The most returned items are kitchen appliances (29 per cent), jeans (25 per cent) and shoes (25 per cent), with an average value of a returned item being £82.

As for the battle between brick-and-mortar shopping and online retail, the purchase method makes little difference to the potential for a return.

The research found that over one in three (36 per cent) would be more likely to send something back that they purchased online, with 22 per cent having never kept an item which they have wanted to return.

With brands beginning to charge customers for returns, 27 per cent have resisted sending an item back because it cost too much to return.

Elliff continues: “Retail therapy is a pleasure for thousands of people, but the new reality of an economy in a recession, is that when consumers make a return, they need their money back as soon as possible.

Financial transparency can help customers avoid ‘regret purchases’ in the first place, saving both business owners and consumers the hassle and cost of returns in the long run.”

Top 20 Items Most Likely To Be Returned By Brits

  1. A kitchen appliance like a food processor or coffee machine
  2. Jeans/trousers
  3. Shoes
  4. Tablet
  5. Tops/shirts
  6. A jumper
  7. Toys
  8. Laptop
  9. Video game
  10. A musical instrument
  11. A pair of sunglasses
  12. Beauty products including make up or skincare
  13. Kids clothing/shoes
  14. A coat
  15. Occasion wear
  16. Home Plants
  17. A vacuum cleaner
  18. Gifts you have bought for family and friends
  19. Handbag
  20. A sofa

*In most cases refunds should be sent same day if they have been requested to Payit prior to 22:45 and the original payment was made prior to 18:30 on the previous business day. Should the refund be requested after 22:45, or the original payment be made after 18:30 on the previous business day, the refund will be processed the following day. Due to batch data and payment processes, refunds could take longer over weekends and Bank holidays. In 2022 we plan to be able to get real time data for CMA 9 payments which will provide a close to real-time refund.

Research by Payit by NatWest