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Returns concerns dull cross-border shopping

One in four shoppers refrain from purchasing from international merchants due to concerns around returns, according to a recent study.

ESW and Asendia completed a survey with 18,679 respondents in 18 countries between October 31 and November 14 last year.

Based on the survey, nearly half of consumers are willing to make purchases even if there is a nominal return charge, with Gen Z more than 1.7 times willing to pay than Baby Boomers.

Among the countries surveyed, India, the UAE and South Korea emerged as the most willing to pay for return charges.

Meanwhile, 27 per cent of respondents said they are inclined to pay for a membership if it would mean free returns while another 27 per cent said they would pay return shipping charges.

“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,” Asendia global returns CEO Helen Scurfield said.

“By removing the friction from cross-border returns brands can open routes to higher spend and new customers. But global reverse logistics are complex and managing them requires considerable expertise,” ESW global logistics and returns head of product Nick Cranney said.

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