Gen Z and Millennial Shoppers Are Less Likely to Return Unwanted Online Purchases

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are less likely to return unwanted online purchases, that’s according to a new survey from e-commerce company ESW (formerly eShopWorld).

As post-holiday returns skyrocket due to the explosion in e-commerce sales globally, 56% of Gen Z and Millennial consumers are the ones most likely to choose not to return unwanted items, according to the “Global Voices: Cross-Border Shopper Insights” survey from ESW. The survey of nearly 15,000 consumers indicated that Gen Z and Millennials find returns inconvenient, expensive, and bad for the environment.

ESW’s study also found that Gen Z and Millennials make up 60% of cross border shoppers. Yet, more than half of each of these two cohorts admitted that they had made purchases from internationally based retailers that they ultimately didn’t want but chose not to return. Additional reasons cited for not returning items included unclear return policies, no local collection points, and insignificant item cost. The markets where consumers overall were most likely to avoid returns were China (67%), India (64%) and UAE (64%), according to ESW.

“Eliminating the friction Gen Z and Millennials associate with returns will be a big win for all direct-to-consumer brands, as these young adults will continue to drive the growth in e-commerce in all markets,” said Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne, ESW’s president and CEO of Americas, in a statement.

Bousquet-Chavanne also mentioned that free returns, scheduled pick-ups, and easy-to-access collection points will help mitigate burdensome returns requirements. “Brands that transparently communicate their sustainable shipping options for both deliveries and returns will likely create a more loyal customer base across all generations,” Bousquet-Chavanne added.

This news comes after a December report from commercial real estate firm CBRE and return logistics company Optoro found that the average holiday return would cost retailers two-thirds of the original price for the item when factoring in labor, transportation, and warehousing costs. CBRE estimated that at least 30% or $66.7 billion worth of holiday purchases would be returned.

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