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‘Spend & return’ culture leading Britain’s online shoppers

06 Apr 2019

Eight out of ten will top up their online baskets just to get free delivery

  • More than half will always return at least one of those extra items

Millennials are at the forefront of a new ‘spend & return’ culture created by the widespread availability of free delivery and returns in online shopping, according to a survey by first direct .

Almost two thirds (63%) of millennials are now shopping online at least once a week, and one in five (21%) buy online every day, but the majority admit many of their purchases are short-lived.

A survey of 2,000 UK consumers found more than eight out of ten millennials (82%) are happy to buy more if it means they can get free delivery, and more than half (52%) say they always top up their online shopping baskets to take advantage of free delivery, only to then use free returns to get instant refunds on all those extra items.

Shoes and clothes top the list of goods they are happy to send back – even when the items have been worn. Almost half of millennial women (45%) admitted they had worn a dress before returning it to the retailer.

Rise of the retail apps

Almost one in four consumers (23%) now have at least five retailer apps on their phone (43% for millennials), and 39% say they are more likely to use retailers that have shopping apps.

While retail apps are often convenient, the research shows the direct impact of retailer apps on our spending habits, with more than one in four consumers (28%) saying they regularly spent more than they had planned because of the ease and speed of using an app. Among millennials, that figure rises to 58%. At the same time, just 37% always check their bank balance before shopping online.

Helen Priestley, Head of Marketing at first direct , said: “Roughly £1 out of every £5 we spend with retailers in the UK is spent online, and that proportion is increasing every year. The lure of free deliveries and returns is clearly adding to the growing appeal of online shopping.

“Our research also reveals just how attractive shopping apps are to consumers. More than half of us will respond to offers being pushed out by retailers via the apps, so we are often spending more than we intended.

“The combination of discounts and free delivery is very enticing, but it’s important to manage your finances. Even if you plan to return items, remember that it can be 10 days or more before the refund appears in your account.”

Money worry support

first direct is committed to supporting people with money worries, and if anyone is worried about money, the best thing to do is talk about it.

first direct customers can talk to us or check their accounts and move money online or through the app 24/7.

Non-first direct customers, or those who’d prefer to talk to someone independent, can contact a number of organisations who can also help, free of charge:

StepChange Debt Charity – free advice www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy.aspx

The Money Advice Service website, including its online Money Health Check www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/health-check

National Debtline website www.nationaldebtline.org

Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money

 

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