Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

Retailers gear up to face holiday returns

With Black Friday just a week and a half away, the holiday shopping season is upon us. And for every perfect gift that consumers cross off their lists, there’s bound to be one or two that miss the mark. Retailers are already preparing for the inevitable pile up of returns, which is good because those costs can swell quickly.

Follow the leader: Fast-fashion companies like Boohoo and Zara began implementing returns fees earlier this year in the UK. (But beware of this strategy, as it may result in customer blowback.)

Ahead of the holidays, Walmart has added curbside returns and returns pickup from home to its offerings, as well as extending its returns policy through January 31, 2023. And Target shoppers can also return items curbside without a designated time window.

A growing problem: Last year, US consumer returns grew 6% to over $761 billion, accounting for 16.6% of total US retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation. Over two-thirds of retailers consider returns as “a cost of doing business,” but returns rates are growing faster than revenue growth rates for nearly all (91%) retailers, per Appriss Retail.

Ecommerce costs: Return rates for items bought online are 3 to 4 times more than those purchased in-store, per Appriss Retail. Online returns cost an average of 21% of their order value, per Pitney Bowes.

Teamwork: Meanwhile, some companies with more mature logistics operations are offering up their services to others. UPS plans to offer a logistics-as-a-service solution to retailers, which aims to improve delivery and returns processes as well as provide UPS with another revenue stream. Similarly, Gap Inc. has launched GPS Platform Services, which offers fulfillment and reverse logistics services.

Search for a solution: Reducing returns rates is a top priority for 83% of retailers but a majority (69%) don’t have a good understanding of the root cause of their returns, per Appriss Retail. Only 29% of retailers have an end-to-end strategic returns management program in place and only 27% have an executive responsible for overall returns performance.

Tactical tips: There are any number of other ways that companies can keep returns costs down.

  • Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that retailers can reduce returns by adding more user-generated post-purchase content.
  • Over half (59%) also say use of try-on technology can help cut back on returns.
  • By allowing consumers to sell unwanted items to other shoppers, peer-to-peer returns save companies an average of $20 per return.


This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.