Signifyd unveils its latest data on European consumer return trends

Signifyd data finds Europeans opting to shop based on return policies

Commerce protection provider Signifyd unveils its latest data on European consumer return trends, revealing a crucial consideration for retailers in today’s evolving economic landscape.

The research, conducted recently by OnePoll across Europe, highlights a key insight: While inflation may be easing, cost-conscious consumers prioritise retailers offering flexible return policies and payment options. This underscores the importance of going beyond the “buy now” button and focusing on the entire retail life cycle, from delivery to return.

With returns globally costing retailers more than $700 billion in 2023 and projected to cost nearly $1 trillion by the end of the decade, retailers need innovative strategies to manage the process effectively. Beyond the rising cost of legitimate returns, any future-focused strategy must account for fraudulent returns. The challenge is growing rapidly, given that the adoption of SCA has made traditional payments fraud more difficult.

Key Findings:

  • Return policies drive buying decisions: 84% of Italian consumers consider return policies very or fairly important when choosing a retailer, with well over half of those saying “very important.” Overall, 77% of European consumers agreed that return policies were fairly or very important.
  • Ease of return is paramount: 94% of respondents across Europe find ease of return crucial, reflecting sentiment in Italy where 89% agreed that easy returns were vital.
  • European shoppers were less likely to shop with a retailer that charged for returns (56%) or offered only store credit refunds (50%). In Italy, 62% of consumers were less likely to shop with retailers who charged for returns and 48% were less inclined to shop merchants who offer only store credit for returned items.
  • Preferred return methods vary: Italian consumers agreed with other Europeans that courier collection provided their preferred return experience. It was favoured by 53% of Italians and 39% of shoppers across Europe. 25% of Italians chose dropping items off at the post office as their second favourite method. Finishing third was a third-party in-store return, where one retailer accepts returns for several merchants (15%). Across Europe, the post office and the store where an item was purchased were the second and third favourite places to return items.
  • Common reasons for return rejection: The most frequent reasons reported by Italian consumers for rejected returns include, the item was damaged (15%), past the return window (13%) and incorrect item returned (12%). 36% of respondents said they’d never had a return rejected by a merchant.
  • Payment preferences differ geographically: Over half of Italians (55%) and Spaniards (53%) prefer PayPal, while 55% of Britons favour credit cards.

The research serves as a warning to European retailers not to rely on customer experience ending with the purchase; instead, they need to account for the full retail life cycle through delivery and possession.

Davide Antonelli, GTM at Signifyd said, “Our research highlights the complex challenges retailers face in today’s evolving consumer landscape. Offering seamless, customer-centric experiences and flexible return options is crucial. Equally important is implementing robust fraud prevention strategies to tackle the growing issue of fraudulent returns. Adapting to changing consumer expectations and prioritising both customer satisfaction and security enable retailers to thrive in this dynamic environment.”


Results of this research are from a survey of 8,000 adults aged 18 and above, split evenly across the UK, Spain, Italy and France. The research was conducted in February by OnePoll on behalf of Signifyd.

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