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Snap and send back: UK shoppers buy, hashtag and return, study says

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Many men are buying an outfit, doing a selfie and sending it back – at great cost to retailers
Many men are buying an outfit, doing a selfie and sending it back – at great cost to retailers

A growing number of UK shoppers are buying clothes, snapping a selfie in them then returning them, finds Barclaycard

'Try before you buy' may be driving the trend – and causing problems for retailers

New research from Barclaycard shows that ‘outfit of the day’ posts have literally become just that. Almost one in ten UK shoppers reveal that they have bought clothes online (9%) to wear once with the aim of posting a photo to social media and subsequently returning their purchases.


This rises to almost one in five among 35-44 year olds (17%), the biggest percentage of any age group.


Surprisingly, it is men who are more ‘socially self-conscious’ than women – with 12% posting a clothing item on social media and then returning it to an online retailer compared to only 7% of women. It’s not just virtual vanity, one in ten men also say they would feel embarrassed for a friend to see them in the same outfit twice compared to 7% of women.


More men (15%) also admit to wearing clothes with the tags on in case they want to return them, compared to 11% of women.


Additional Barclaycard research has also revealed that men are bigger spenders on fashion than women. Despite common assumptions, men’s spending on clothes and shoes totals £114 per person each month, equating to over £300 more per person than women a year.


The rise of the ‘try before you buy’ policy, which allows shoppers to order clothes online and only buy them if they decide to keep them, may well be contributing to the ‘snap and send back’ trend. More than three in ten Brits (31%) say they are more likely to return items they purchase online using ‘try before you buy’ because they don’t have to pay for the item beforehand.

George Allardice, Head of Strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions explains:“It’s interesting to see the social media trend further fuelling the returns culture. We know from our research that returns are having a big impact on retailers, with a huge figure of seven billion pounds a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise.”


Allardice continues: “Retailers are adopting new processes to make returns easier as they know how important this is to customers. But to ensure shoppers are getting more wear out of their clothes - for posting on social media or for those real-life moments - retailers could think about introducing more varied photography and video content to their websites. By showing how to style items for different looks and how they will appear when worn, they could reduce the number of shoppers ‘snapping and sending back’.”


Image: Fotolia

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