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Retailers see tidal wave of returns across November 2022

Tom Shearsmith
06 December 2022

Despite Black Friday sales exceeding expectations, retailers have been brought back down to Earth with a tidal wave of returns across November.

Findings from retail returns expert ReBound, who work with major retailers including ASOS, River Island, and Crocs, revealed that November 2022 returns were 26.6% higher than November 2021.

Laura Garrett, returns expert at ReBound, a Reconomy Group company, explained: “It goes without saying that spikes in returns always follow sales periods, as impulse purchasing on a good deal leads to buyer’s remorse. But, the initial results from the Black Friday weekend shows that 2022 is likely to be a record returns’ year.

“A snapshot from Cyber Monday shows returns were already 8.4% higher by lunchtime than in 2021. In fact, returns across November are already significantly higher than last year. If we look at the data, we actually hit 2021 total returns for the entirety of November by the Black Friday itself. Even retailers that learnt from last year and prepared as much as possible for this year, could still be facing volumes beyond what they planned for.

“Despite retailers spreading sales across the month to avoid the logistical nightmare of a one-day spike, the volume of returns in November will pile extra pressure on retailers who have to turn products around in time for Christmas.

“Against a backdrop of strikes by Royal Mail, retailers are likely to be feeling the pressure. Consumers are also feeling the pressure. The cost-of-living crisis is clearly playing a part in this increased volume. In a couple of weeks, we'll see a fuller picture of what this Black Friday looked like, against 2021 but it's clear from this snapshot that returns volumes are only going up."

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

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.

Overall November footfall across all UK destinations covering the four weeks from 30 October – 26 November 2022 was given a major boost by Black Friday, but a lull in shopping activity is predicted to follow in December.


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