Nearly half of millennials, gen Z lost money by keeping unwanted purchases: survey
Since the beginning of the pandemic, some Canadian shoppers have been adding unnecessary costs to their retail purchases by choosing to keep their unwanted items instead of dealing with the steps to get their money back.
According to ReturnBear, a Canadian e-commerce returns service, 46 per cent of younger Canadians reported losing money on unwanted purchases they haven’t returned since the beginning of the pandemic.
The study, commissioned by the Angus Reid Forum, surveyed 3,010 Canadians online and found that 34 per cent of respondents of all ages lost money on unreturned items; 19 per cent reported losing more than $100 and nine per cent said they lost $250 or more.
However, Canadians between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to lose money from past purchases they weren’t happy with but did not end up returning. The data found 20 per cent of younger Canadians reported losing under $100, 15 per cent lost $250 and nine per cent said they lost more than $500.
The generational gap is likely due to younger demographics being more prone to shopping online but feeling overwhelmed with most return policies that often require printing out shipping labels and paying for mailing fees, Robert Domagala, head of business and marketing at ReturnBear, told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview on Thursday.
He said the costs don't just rise for the customer but for the retailer as well since returned items go through a lengthy process of being shipped back to their original warehouse often located in other parts of the world.
“The growth of e-commerce, though wonderful as it is, creates an inherent distance in the relationship between you, the brand and their processes and operations,” Domagala said.
However, Canadians are making an effort to return their unwanted items amid rising inflation rates. Over the last six months, younger Canadians reported feeling forced to return their purchases due to inflation, in comparison to 17 per cent of those aged 35 to 54 and seven per cent of people over 55, the survey said.
This trend is likely to continue, Domagala said as he predicts customers will shop less frequently and more strategically to avoid unnecessary costs.
He recommends shoppers take the time to research the brands they’re buying from, particularly when shopping through social media as ads can make it easy to purchase items without looking into return policies.
"I would suggest shoppers spend a little bit more time understanding the brand by looking at the materials, going to the website, looking at their product detail pages, reading about sizing and the policies so that they know what they're getting," he said.
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