1 in 4 shoppers avoid buying from global retailers fearing returns


Asendia, a global leader in ecommerce and mail solutions, and  ESW, leading global direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce company, share the latest insights from Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty.  

Key findings based on data from more than 18,000 respondents in 18 countries show  customer expectations regarding the post-purchase journey–particularly regarding cross border returns–are both high and varied.  

The report highlights a number of key concerns customers have related to shipping and  returns, and helps global brands and merchants understand how to meet consumer  expectations.  

The report offers insights into consumer sentiment regarding transparency around fees and  return policies, charging a returns or restocking fee, and free returns in exchange for a  subscription membership.  

Show me the money  

Returns logistics can be challenging and expensive, therefore many retailers have begun  implementing return fees in order to claw back costs and deter shoppers from making  excessive purchases with the intention of returning most of them.  

Overall, nearly half of consumers said they are willing to make purchases even if there was  a nominal returns charge. However, Gen Z was more than 1.7 times more likely to accept a  fee than Baby Boomers. Of the countries surveyed, India, UAE, and South Korea were most  willing to accept return charges.  

Joining the club 

27% of respondents said they are inclined to pay for a membership if it means they can return  their purchases for free, another 27% would pay return shipping charges. More than four in 

10 shoppers in India, China and Mexico would pay a membership fee that includes free  returns yet only 15% of UK, German, and Swiss shoppers would pay a membership fee. They  would, however, pay for return shipping. 

“In today’s global marketplace, a robust cross-border returns strategy isn’t just another box  to tick, it’s a strategic imperative. Prioritising a seamless, customer-centric return process  enhances satisfaction, builds trust, and ultimately fuels long-term success. Each market is a  unique ecosystem, with distinct customer behaviours and preferences”, comments Helen  Scurfield, CEO Global Returns, Asendia.  

By removing the friction from cross-border returns brands can open routes to higher spend  and new customers. But global reverse logistics are complex and managing them requires  considerable expertise. By partnering with ESW and Asendia, brands and retailers have access  to our industry leading solutions allowing them to enter new markets in a matter of weeks  and create exceptional customer experiences that foster brand loyalty and deliver revenue  growth”, explains Nick Cranney, Global Logistics & Returns, ESW.  

The report will be discussed by a panel of industry experts in an upcoming webinar, titled  Mastering Returns: How Brands and Retailers can succeed in the Customer-Centric Era,  launching on 3 April. 

Notes to editors: 

Methodology :  

Responses were gathered from an online panel of adults 18+, representative of national  quotas for key demographics in 18 countries. Survey questions and responses were  translated into each country’s native language and currencies were converted to local  currencies before being converted back to $US for comparison purposes. 18,679 surveys  were completed between October 31st and November 14th 2023. Overall margin of error is  approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level, varying by country population size. 

About Asendia: 

Asendia is one of the world’s leaders in international e-commerce and mail, delivering  packages, parcels and documents to more than 200 destinations across the globe.  Combining the experience and expertise of our founding companies, La Poste and Swiss  Post, Asendia brings together a wealth of international and local know-how. Asendia’s  expertise is broad reaching encompassing different aspects of e-commerce, from webshop  software and marketplace management to international logistics. Asendia is committed to  sustainability, being 100% carbon neutral through offsetting. Asendia employs over 1,500  people in Europe, UK, Asia Pacific and the USA – a global network blended with a local  presence.

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