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Customers buying and returning online have spent £2.2 billion on delivery and return fees for their orders in January, according to research by savings site VoucherCodes.co.uk.
It found that the average delivery fee costs consumers an extra £5.01 per order, and £1.18 per return, on top of the cost of the items purchased. During January it says that the average person placed six online orders in one month alone and returned a third (33%) of the items they purchased – meaning that the average person has spent £32.42 on delivery and returns.

The company looked at delivery fees for the top 100 retailers and found that Topps Tiles customers pay the highest delivery fees at a £12 for standard delivery, while Farfetch charges £10 per delivery.

Its study found that more than two thirds of Brits (68%) frequently spend more than intended to hit the minimum spend threshold and qualify for free delivery, with the average shopper spending an extra £17.27 as a result. When it comes to scouting out discounts, almost one in three (29%) consumers admit to exclusively shopping with retailers that offer free delivery, whilst further data reveals women are more enticed (78%) by the promise of free delivery than men (57%).

Research also reveals a large gap in willingness to pay delivery costs. Shoppers aged 18-34 (35%) are most reluctant to fork out for delivery charges and are almost six times more likely to spend more money to qualify for free shipping fees than those over the age of 55 (6%). Those aged 18-24 spend an average of £20.39 more on items they didn’t initially add to their basket, just to qualify for free delivery. This is almost double the amount that over 55s are willing to part with in order to avoid delivery fees (£12.37).

However, with the rising use of buy now, pay later schemes such as Klarna, a fifth of consumers (15%) admit to paying no attention to delivery fees, as they don’t have to pay for goods until a later date.

The nuisance of returning parcels is enough to put over one in ten (15%) consumers off, as they cite either forgetting or not bothering to get their money back for unwanted parcels. However, when it comes to the top culprits for returns, those aged 18-34 were three times as likely to return an order than someone over 55, each sending back three and one orders respectively in the past month.

Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “With many feeling the pinch due to soaring inflation rates and the rising cost of living, there’s an abundance of people keen to cut costs wherever they can. With the average consumer spending £32.42 on delivery and returns fees in the past month alone, it’s no surprise that many shoppers are paying more attention to delivery costs and even shunning retailers who don’t offer free delivery.”