Germans return 11% of online purchases

Germans return 11% of online purchases

Online shoppers in Germany return 11 percent of all of their online purchases. The younger generations in the country return items more often than older ones. They mostly return items because the size does not fit or because the product is damaged.

These findings come from a survey commissioned by German digital association Bitkom. In total, 1,050 German online shoppers of 16 and older were asked about their shopping habits. Previous research by retail institute EHI already showed preventing returns is a significant focus point for online sellers in the DACH region. On average, a return costs them between 5 and 10 euros.

Only 24% never return their purchases

According to Bitkom, only 24 percent of online shoppers in Germany never return their online orders. When looking at the group of people who do return orders, the results also show that men return a significant smaller proportion (9 percent) than women (14 percent).

Younger people return more purchases

Additionally, people between the ages of 16 and 29 return an average of 15 percent of all their online orders. Among 30 to 49-year-olds, it is 13 percent. People aged between 50 and 64 return 10 percent and people over the age of 65 return only 7 percent.

‘In the interest of sustainability, the aim must be to reduce returns to a minimum.’

“Every time goods are sent back and forth, resources are consumed – in the interest of sustainability, the aim must be to reduce returns to a minimum. Ultimately, this is also in the interest of retailers, who save costs and effort in logistics – and this in turn benefits consumers through overall lower prices”, said Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, Bitkom CEO.

Reasons to return items

At least two thirds (67 percent) of the respondents said that they returned items because the size of the product did not fit. And 56 percent returned items because they were damaged or faulty. Not liking the product was also a common reason (50 percent).

A product not matching the picture or description was also a common reason for a return (41 percent). And 37 percent of respondents said products seemed poorly made. In 3 out of 10 cases, orders were returned because a wrong item was delivered. And 29 percent of respondents ordered more than they actually needed, like clothes in different sizes, with the intention of returning most of them.

‘Digital tools can help you find the right product straight away and reduce the return rate.’

“Digital tools such as AI-based shopping assistants, data-based size advice and virtual fitting can help you find the right product straight away when shopping online and at the same time reduce the return rate. Online retailers have recognized this and are increasingly incorporating such applications into web shops.”



Pleuni writes all types of news and background articles for Ecommerce News, where she has been working since 2019.

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