Returns Rates Match for Stores, Ecommerce

returns feature

The rate of returns from retail purchases is expected to remain relatively flat this year compared to 2021, at 16.5%, with store and ecommerce returns roughly equal as the latter figure has improved, according to a report from the National Retail Federation and Apriss Retail.

NRF and Apriss reported that $816 billion worth of purchases will be returned in 2022, with the return rate for stores ($603 billion out of $3.66 trillion, or 16.4%) being virtually the same as for online ($212 billion of $1.29 trillion, or 16.5%). In 2021, the ecommerce return rate was 20.8%.

Both stores and online will see about the same rate of fraudulent returns, according to the report, at 10.3% and 10.7%, respectively.

In terms of the types of returns fraud, the highest number of retailers responding to the 2022 survey (50%) said they saw used, non-defective merchandise, also known as wardrobing, with 41.4% citing shoplifted or stolen merchandise. About 20% said return fraud was tied to organized retail crime, a growing issue.

Recommerce is a trending solution designed to address the growing problem of ecommerce returns by simultaneously meeting the twin consumer demands for sustainability and affordable value, as evidenced by the popularity of sites like ThredUp, The RealReal and Poshmark.

In other news, the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau today were a cause for concern in retail and the broader economy, sending stocks lower. The agency reported that retail sales, including food, automotive and gasoline, fell 0.6% in November from the previous month, the largest decline in 2022. Sales last month did outpace November 2021 by 6.5%. In October, retail sales had increased 1.3%.

Retail, excluding fuel and automotive, was down 0.8% in November from the previous month, but up 5.4% from November 2021.

Among retail sectors, consumable categories like restaurants and bars (+ 0.9%), grocery (+ 0.8%) and health and personal care (+ 0.7%) saw the strongest growth in November. All discretionary categories such as department stores (- 2.9%), furniture and home furnishings (- 2.6%), electronics and appliances (- 1.5%), sporting goods/musical instruments/hobby/books (- 0.6%) and apparel (- 0.2%) saw declines.