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69% of UK men ‘can’t be bothered’ to return clothes that don’t fit or they don’t want

Tom Bottomley
21 November 2022

Over two-thirds (69%) of men don’t return ill-fitting items of clothing - or items they don’t want - that they’ve bought online, because they ‘can’t be bothered’, according to a new survey commissioned by custom-fit menswear brand, Spoke.

International market research agency OnePoll asked 2,000 UK men from a range of different ages, regions and occupations who regularly shop online to dive deeper into their shopping habits, especially when it comes to returning – or in this case, not returning – items they have purchased online.

Key findings included:

  • Men are spending, on average, £290 per year on clothing they never wear.
  • Men would only consider returning clothing items if they were priced at over £300, though 40% agreed that price wouldn’t play a part in returning an item.
  • Men in Northern Ireland tend to spend the most on clothes that never get worn, with an average of £475 a year compared to East Midlands men, who spend only an average of £138.
  • Trousers and jeans are the most commonly returned Item, making up 15% of returns, with poor fit being the main reason for returning them.
  • 20% of men kept ill-fitting clothes with the hopes they’ll fit them one day.

Spoke Founder, Ben Farren, said: “These survey results are remarkable. It’s staggering to think that 69% of men ‘can’t be bothered’ to return clothes that don’t fit or they don’t want to keep.

“It’s a bad outcome for everyone. It fills wardrobes with clothes men don’t wear. It leaves them feeling worse about the brand they’ve bought from. And it’s bad for the environment - it’s just a shocking waste of resources.

“Trousers and jeans are returned more than any other category, with poor fit being the biggest reason. Retailers are clearly missing the mark. Most brands only sell even numbered waists and just two or three leg lengths - so 75% of men have to adjust their trousers - or they’re wearing strides that simply don’t fit well.

“The answer isn’t rocket science - you need more sizes. That’s what Spoke offers, with our custom-finished solution and over 400 size combinations, so every man can find his perfect fit. Those are the trousers you’ll reach for every day.”

Further findings from the survey revealed that, even with the options of a parcel drop-off or included return labels to make it as easy and hassle-free as possible, 16% of men still said they wouldn’t return the clothing.

Of all the regions, West Midlands men are more likely to return ill-fitting clothes (60%). However, 81% of men living in the East Midlands admitted to never returning online clothes purchases.

In London, 20% of men said that they would rather gift clothes to friends or family members that didn't fit rather than return them. And, of all the occupations, community and social service workers were the most giving, with 25% donating their ill-fitting clothes to loved ones.

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