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Shoppers Will Return $900 Billion Worth of Merchandise This Year, and This Is the No. 1 Reason They Send Back Their Purchases

The uptick in returns is a 2.3% increase from last year.

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Shoppers aren't shy about sending their unwanted goods back, and as 2022 comes to a close, the number of returns is expected to rise to new heights.

Emilija Manevska | Getty Images

According to an Insider Intelligence forecast, shoppers will return $906.64 billion worth of merchandise this year, which would mark a 2.3% increase from last year.

Of the returns, online shoppers will send back $279.03 billion this year, a dramatic increase of 8.4% from last year.

A few factors could be driving the uptick in returns, one of which is inflation, which has altered consumer spending habits as individuals cut back on spending.

Related: How Emotions Drive Our Shopping Behavior

Another factor driving growth in return rates is the concept of "bracketing," wherein a shopper never intends to keep every item but rather purchases a variety, tries them on at home and then brings back whatever doesn't work. The practice has gained popularity over the years, and 63% of shoppers engaged in bracketing in 2022, which is a 55% increase from 2019, according to a report by Narvar. Additionally, 15% of respondents stated that bracketing is "just how they shop now."

However, the number one reason for returns remains issues with "fit and size," according to Narvar. It's the top-ranked return reason for the sixth year in a row and accounts for 45% of all returns in 2022.

With return practice on the rise, many consumers are longing for an easier way to send things back — nearly one out of four shoppers is willing to pay for a convenient way to return things, the report found, with the most requested service being at-home scheduled pick-up.

Related: 4 Things to Know About Ecommerce Returns to Minimize Lost Profits and Keep Customers Happy

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