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Spoke reports 69% of UK men don’t return ill-fitting clothes


London-based menswear brand Spoke has discovered that 20% of men never return clothes that don’t fit, and a further 49% of men had a laissez-faire approach to returning ill-fitting clothes regardless of the price.

The custom-fitting clothing firm wanted to understand men’s online shopping and returns habits, so surveyed 2,000 UK men from a range of different ages, regions and occupations who regularly shop online to find out how they shop.

The study highlighted that only 31% of men do return poorly fitting clothes. The reasons given for not returning items bought online included hoping the items would fit one day (14%) and men stating they “can’t be bothered” (17%). While, one in ten reported that they didn’t know how to return the item.

Spoke founder Ben Farren described these results as “remarkable” and stressed that this returns situations is “a bad outcome for everyone”.

“It fills wardrobes with clothes men don’t wear. It leaves them feeling worse about the brand they’ve bought from. And it’s bad for the environment – it’s just a shocking waste of resources,” he noted.

The survey also found that trousers and jeans are the most commonly returned item, Spoke said this was unsurprising as they are notoriously difficult to buy and get the fit just right. Trousers and jeans made up 15% of returns with 31% of men returned jeans that didn’t fit how they expected them to.

Farren added: “Trousers and jeans are returned more than any other category, with poor fit being the biggest reason. Retailers are clearly missing the mark. Most brands only sell even numbered waists and just two or three leg lengths – so 75% of men have to adjust their trousers – or they’re wearing strides that simply don’t fit well.”

Furthermore, Spoke found on average men spend more than £200 on online clothing purchases a month and £290 a year on clothes they never wear.

Men in Northern Ireland tend to spend the most on clothes that never get worn, with an average of £475 a year compared to East Midlands men, who spend only an average of £138.

Spoked added while it certainly wastes money hanging on to unwanted clothes or giving them away to a friend, it might not be such a bad thing after all as an estimated 50% of returns never make it back into a clothing company’s inventory. In the worst cases, these clothes go on to be incinerated or to landfill. So, whether they are aware or not, UK men might actually be doing the environment a favour by not returning ill-fitting clothing, especially if they donate them to charity – despite their wallets suffering.

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