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Global returns rise 60% over Black Friday weekend

Tom Shearsmith
29 November 2022

ZigZag Global, a SaaS platform that helps retailers manage and resell returned stock in local markets, has published data from the Black Friday weekend, revealing a 60% increase in global returns compared to 2021.

ZigZag’s proprietary data revealed that "shoppers have been eager to spread the cost of Christmas this year" and seek promotions during a cost-of-living crisis. The UK saw an 8% rise in returns year-on-year during the Black Friday weekend.

Despite a reinvention of Black Friday, with some retailers engaging in month-long promotions, consumers have set their sights firmly on bagging only the best bargains this year with the value of goods returned rising by 44% compared to last year globally.

Al Gerrie, ZigZag Global CEO and Co-Founder, commented: “By spreading the Black Friday deals across the month of November, retailers are doubling down on every effort to combat consumer concerns around the cost-of-living crisis and the potential impact this might have on anticipated Christmas spending budgets.

“There has been a significant jump in global returns compared to last year’s Black Friday weekend which is up 60% for global returns and 8% in the UK. The increase in returns is down to shoppers buying multiple items and then thinking a lot harder about returning items they don’t want. There is also an interesting trend in the value of the returned items being higher than last year - again pointing towards a more frugal shopper this year.”

The data also shows a significant increase in the number of paid returns - up 159% this year in the UK - meanwhile, the number of free returns dropped. High Street retailers including Zara, Uniqlo and Next already charge for online returns. Inditex-owned Zara, which charges a £1.95 fee for returns, also stipulated that customers cannot return separate orders in the same box.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, shoppers have a right to claim a full refund for goods or services that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, provided it is done within 30 days of ownership.

Gerrie continued: “The increase in paid returns is a healthy sign for retailers looking to recoup profit on the returns journey, because as the retail industry knows all too well: there is no such thing as a ‘free return’.”

Other data collected over the Black Friday weekend included:

  • Sunday had the biggest jump in returns in the UK, with people returning 24% more than they did on the Sunday after Black Friday in 2021.
  • Germany had one of the biggest return weekends in Europe, with 88% more returns flowing back to retailers over the weekend compared to 2021.
  • The value of goods returned over this week rose by 44% compared to last year globally.
  • The value of goods returned over this week rose by 5% compared to last year in the UK.
  • 488% increase in returns handed into lockers in the UK
  • Padded coats, leggings, and bags were the most returned items.
  • The biggest drop in returns was seen in Liverpool in the UK, with returns volumes in 2022 only 49% of that in 2021.
  • Leeds (45%) and Bristol (56%) saw the most significant jumps in their returns this weekend.

Read's feature: Have we reached the point of diminishing e-commerce returns?

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