Otto Group: coronavirus has lowered the return rate

Otto Group: coronavirus has lowered the return rate

The corona crisis has led to a surge in online shopping, but consumers aren’t returning more. That’s what the Otto Group has noticed. It doesn’t have a simple answer to why this is the case, and whether a general trend reversal can be derived from this.

People have ordered more, but (proportionally) returned less. According to the Otto Group, this change in buying behavior can be explained by the fact that customers in Germany are now shopping more consciously and closer to their needs.

‘Spontaneous purchases are put on hold’

“Spontaneous and, above all, expensive purchases are put on hold”, it explains. Online shoppers now buy more items in product categories such as electronics, furniture, home and garden, home textiles and basic-oriented fashion. These are all items with lower returns rates. “And this shift in product purchases leads to a significantly lower return rate”, the company thinks.

Customers are now shopping more consciously and closer to their needs.

Return rate of decreased by 5 percentage points

During the past months, online retailer Otto recorded a decrease in the return rate of 5 percentage points, compared to the same period last year. The Baur Group, also part of the Otto Group, saw a significantly lower return rate, one that was 7 percentage points lower than last year. And the Witt Group, which is specialized in the 50-plus age group, saw a reduction in the return rate of at least 2 percentage points across all of its brands. And online retailer Heine, which was integrated into the Witt Group at the end of last year, saw a decrease of 7 percentage points.

“The purchasing behavior has obviously changed during the corona crisis – from emotion-driven spontaneous purchases to inspiring but more conscious coverage of need,” says Marcus Ackermann, Otto Group Board Member for Multichannel Distance Trading. “It’s not yet possible to predict whether these changes will persist and, in addition, correspond to a generally more conscious purchase pattern among customers.”

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