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Shoppers avoid buying from international retailers due to returns concerns, says Asendia

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Returns logistics can be challenging and expensive with many retailers implementing return fees in order to claw back costs, however this is deterring consumers from shopping cross-border, according a new study.

Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty, published by Asendia and ESW, found a quarter of consumers are more likely to shop cross-border if all import charges, taxes and duties are disclosed. With 40% of shoppers willing to wait up to a week for international purchases to be delivered.

The research from more than 18,000 shoppers in 18 countries also found nearly half of shoppers are willing to purchase products even if there is a nominal returns charge.

However, Gen Z (58%) was more than 1.7 times more likely to accept a fee than Baby Boomers (34%). Of the countries surveyed, India (76%), UAE (67%), and South Korea (61%) were most willing to accept return charges.

Joining the club
Over a quarter (27%) of respondents would pay for a membership or subscription if it means they can return their purchases for free, while another 27% would pay return shipping charges.

More than four in 10 shoppers in India, China and Mexico would pay a membership fee that includes free returns yet only 15% of UK, German, and Swiss shoppers would pay a membership fee. They would, however, pay for return shipping.

Helen Scurfield, CEO global returns at Asendia, commented: “In today’s global marketplace, a robust cross-border returns strategy isn’t just another box to tick, it’s a strategic imperative. Prioritising a seamless, customer-centric return process enhances satisfaction, builds trust and ultimately fuels long-term success. Each market is a unique ecosystem, with distinct customer behaviours and preferences.”

Read an exclusive Guest Comment from Scurfield on the potential of International Click and Collect

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