Survey: For Holiday Returns & Exchanges, In-store (64%) Continues To Beat Online (12%)

Survey: For Holiday Returns & Exchanges, In-store (64%) Continues To Beat Online (12%)
Jan 05 2016 christine

Survey: For Holiday Returns & Exchanges, In-store (64%) Continues To Beat Online (12%)

CHICAGO, IL (January 5, 2016) – Retale (, a location-based mobile platform that conveniently helps shoppers save on purchases from their favorite retailers and brands, today announced the results of a commissioned study examining the likelihood and preferences of consumers returning and exchanging gifts received during the recent holiday season.
The study focused on several areas regarding returns and exchanges, including preferred venues (in-store versus online), overall convenience, and barriers to entry. 500 adult men and women across the U.S. were polled between December 28-31, 2016.

60% Got New Clothing

Over the holidays, the most popular type of gift received was “clothing and apparel,” according to 60% of respondents. The top-five were rounded out by “gift cards” (51%); “home décor and home improvement items” (27%); “electronics” (25%); and “jewelry” (24%).

24% to Return or Exchange Gifts

When asked to rate how pleased they were with the presents they received, the overwhelming majority polled (72%) said that they were “very pleased.” Only 10% said that they were displeased.

However, a quarter (24%) of those surveyed stated that they are likely to return or exchange at least one of the presents that they received this holiday season. The top-three reasons for returns or exchanges were: “not having a need for it” (44%); “it was defective” (34%); and “would rather have a store credit” (9%).

Across the top-five holiday gift categories, the most likely item to be returned or exchanged was jewelry, with 32%. It was followed by electronics (29%); gift cards (27%); clothes and apparel (26%); and home décor and home improvement items (23%).

In-Store Returns & Exchanges 5x More Preferred

Among all survey participants, the overwhelming majority (64%) prefer to return or exchange gifts in-store, while only 12% prefer to do so online. 24% of those surveyed had no specific venue preference. This year’s numbers were slightly more favorable for online when compared to Retale’s holiday returns and exchanges survey from 2015, when 70% preferred in-store versus 9% online and 21% had no preference. Still, in-store returns and exchanges were more than five times more preferred than online due to perceived convenience.

When asked to rate convenience for both in-store and online returns and exchanges, in-store was the clear frontrunner, with 75% rating the experience as convenient versus 26% inconvenient. The online return and exchange experience was viewed less favorably, with 54% calling it convenient versus 45% inconvenient.

“Customers like the convenience of being able to return anything in-store,” said Pat Dermody, President of Retale.  “While retailers advocate this multichannel experience, they are fast coming to understand that processing returns in-store, for purchases made online and with free-shipping, comes with an additional cost.  Whether they will ultimately be able to absorb the impact and continue to offer this convenience to multi-channel shoppers, without charging them, remains to be seen.”

32% Say Keeping Track of Receipts Still Most Difficult

When asked to identify the biggest challenges in returning or exchanging gifts received this holiday season, regardless of venue, the top-four were: “keeping track of any receipts” (32%); “shipping and handling” (30%); “confusing return policies” (19%); and “any required, additional costs” (17%).

30% Say Full Refund via Original Payment Most Important

Among survey respondents, the most important aspect when reviewing a retailer’s return and exchange policy prior to making a purchase is a “full refund in the original form of payment” (30%). It was followed by “return shipping is free or covered” (26%); “no receipt necessary” (19%); “no time limit on exchanges or returns” (16%); “no tags or original packaging necessary” (6%); and “returns can be done via mail” (4%).

For more information on Retale, visit

About Retale

Retale, a Group company, is the leading U.S. location-based mobile and digital company that conveniently connects shoppers with their favorite retailers and brands locally. By seamlessly delivering interactive ad content from hundreds of top-line retailers to mobile audiences, Retale has become the shopping information destination for millions of consumers.

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PR Contact:

Chris Harihar, Crenshaw Communications for Retale



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