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7 Ecommerce Returns Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind!

A man is holding a moving box on a staircase while engaging in e-commerce.

Returns are an inevitable part of eCommerce, but did you know just how much they can impact your bottom line?

In this blog post, we’ll share seven eye-opening statistics about eCommerce returns that will make you rethink your approach to managing them. 

From the cost of returns to the impact on customer loyalty, these stats highlight the importance of having a solid return policy. Understanding these statistics will help you make more informed decisions regarding eCommerce returns, whether you’re an online retailer or a consumer. So buckle up and get ready to have your mind blown!

Key Ecommerce Returns Statistics 

  1. Within 30 days of purchase, 62.58% of online customers expect retailers to offer returns.
  2. Over 60% of individuals will examine the return policy before purchasing.
  3. 30% of online shoppers actively seek ways to overspend and return the products they do not want.
  4. The majority of e-commerce returns occur during January.
  5. Only a minority of retailers – 49% – offer free return shipping.
  6. 80.2% of returns occur due to product damage or breakage.
  7. The average return rate for online purchases is 18.1%
  • Within 30 days of purchase, 62.58% of online customers expect retailers to offer returns.

(IMRG Report)

The ReBOUND Returns Consumer Survey sheds some light on online shoppers’ return expectations. According to the survey, 62.58% of customers expect retailers to allow returns within 30 days after purchase. This is a significant finding, as it suggests that most shoppers value flexibility and convenience when returning items they have bought online. In contrast, only 23.31% of customers expect retailers to allow for returns after up to 14 days, while an even smaller percentage (0.56%) expect retailers to qualify for returns after up to 365 days. 

These findings suggest that retailers who want to stay competitive in the online marketplace need to leverage analytics apps to be responsive to the needs and expectations of their customers when it comes to returns policies.

  • Before purchasing, over 60% of individuals will read the return policy.


Before purchasing online, it’s becoming increasingly common for customers to read the return policy to understand the terms and conditions thoroughly. Over 60% of online shoppers engage in this practice before making a purchase. Companies must ensure their return policies are clear, concise, and easy for customers to comprehend. 

Without a reliable source of supply, customers may lose faith in a company’s ability to provide quality products and services, leading them to avoid purchasing from that company altogether. Therefore, companies must create transparent and customer-friendly return policies that make the purchasing experience seamless.

  • 30% of online shoppers actively seek ways to overspend and return the products they don’t want.

(Barclaycard Research)

As online shopping grows in popularity, consumers must be mindful of their purchasing habits. One of the worst things you can do as an online shopper is to deliberately buy more products than you need to choose which item you like the most. Not only is this wasteful and environmentally unfriendly, but it also contributes to the already high rate of returns in e-commerce. 

Shockingly, recent statistics show that 19% of people admitted to purchasing multiple versions of the same product and only made up their minds when they arrived. 

This not only causes additional stress for retailers but also results in increased costs for both businesses and consumers alike. As responsible shoppers, it’s important to make thoughtful purchases and avoid frivolous buying practices that ultimately harm ourselves and the environment.

  • The majority of e-commerce returns occur during January.


It may be a surprise, but the first month of the year is the most popular month for e-commerce returns. While many retailers are recovering from the holiday rush, customers are returning gifts or items that didn’t quite meet their expectations. This influx of returns can create a lot of stress for e-commerce retailers already dealing with high volumes of orders and shipping delays. 

As a result, it’s not uncommon to experience longer wait times or difficulty getting through to customer service during this time. So if you’re one of the many people trying to return something online in January, remember – you’re not alone!

  • Only a minority of retailers – 49% – offer free return shipping.


The world of e-commerce has revolutionized how people shop, but with it comes its challenges. One such challenge is the issue of returns. Statistics regarding e-commerce retail return rates reveal that a whopping 79% of shoppers expect return shipping to be free, but only 49% of online retailers offer such a service. This creates a gap between customer expectations and actual retail practices. 

It’s no secret that an easy return process is essential to almost every customer because they buy products they have yet to experience or test. Many customers will avoid purchasing from retailers with complicated or expensive return policies. As online shopping grows, retailers must adapt to meet changing customer expectations and provide a seamless and hassle-free return process to keep their customers returning for more.

  • 80.2% of returns occur due to product damage or breakage.

(Sale Cycle)

When it comes to e-commerce product returns, there are a variety of reasons why customers may need to send an item back. While preventing all returns is impossible, understanding the most common reasons can help businesses improve their processes and reduce the number of unhappy customers. 

According to recent studies, 80.2% of product returns are due to receiving a damaged or broken item, highlighting the importance of proper packaging and shipping practices. However, it’s also essential for businesses to accurately describe their products online, as 64.2% of returns happen because an item doesn’t match the description. By ensuring quality control during shipping and providing precise and detailed reports of products, businesses can help minimize the number of returns and keep customers satisfied with their purchases.

  • The average return rate for online purchases is 18.1%

(NRF, HubSpot)

Return rates are a crucial metric for retailers in the ecommerce world. These rates represent the percentage of products sold that are returned within a specified time frame. As it turns out, ecommerce return rates are much higher than those seen in brick-and-mortar stores. On average, ecommerce sales see an 18.1% return rate, while physical stores experience returns of only 8-10%.

Interestingly, the return rate for expensive products is even higher than average, at a whopping 50%. And during the holiday seasons, ecommerce return rates can reach as high as 30%. Tracking return rates is essential to running an online store and can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and satisfaction.

A reasonable return rate typically falls around 10%, while a poor return rate is above 60%. However, return rates are influenced by a variety of factors, such as shipping costs and return fees, product quality, the ease of previewing and returning items, and the retailer’s efforts to prevent returns. 

When customers buy products online, they often have higher expectations and are more likely to return products that don’t meet their standards. This is an inconvenience for customers and a challenge for online retailers who need to factor in return rates when managing inventory and revenue. Thus, retailers need to prioritize customer satisfaction by finding ways to minimize returns while still delivering high-quality products and services.

How to Reduce Returns in Ecommerce: 7 Best Practices | Ecommerce Returns Management


Returns can have a significant impact on the profitability of an eCommerce business. However, many retailers fail to realize how much returns can affect their bottom line. By understanding the statistics around eCommerce returns, companies can take proactive steps to manage them more effectively and minimize their impact on revenue. From the cost of reverse logistics to the effects of free shipping on returns, there are many factors to consider when developing a strategy for managing returns. If you want to learn more about how to optimize your eCommerce business, be sure to check out our other sources on this topic by clicking here!

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