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Online shoppers return £500 million in fashion each year

14 July 2011 - 09:51 by Graham Miller

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UK consumers are spending more and more money via safe shopping online, but those who look for clothes are returning half a billion pounds worth of products each year, according to e-commerce site, Kelkoo.

A study found that many thousands of people tend to buy two of the same item of clothing in different sizes so that they can try both on, keep the one that fits and send back the one which is inappropriate.

Over 66 per cent of respondents to the survey said that they did not have a clear grasp of how sizing measurements operate across the various retailers and thus when using safe shopping online, they are forced to hedge their bets in order to avoid disappointment.

Various high street chains who offer online outlets had their products compared and some serious gaps in sizing consistency were found. For example, people who shop at H&M can expect their clothes to be up to three inches smaller than the equivalent from New Look, even if they are listed as being the same standardised size.

Of course buying two of the same product and returning one has its own issues, with the study concluding that up to £25 a year is wasted by average consumers on the postage fees associated with returns.

Across the UK this adds up to £19 million, but then there are those who simply forget to return their duplicate items and thus waste a further £5.6 million on clothes which are simply never worn, according to the Daily Mail.

Kelkoo spokesperson, Chris Simpson, said that the issue was the lack of legal requirements governing sizing in the UK. Retailers are not forced to stick to a regimented set of rules and thus discrepancies are inevitable.