New research has found that young shoppers think nothing of returning clothes to online stores – after they have already worn them. In a phenomenon known as “wardrobing,” people purchase clothes online before wearing them just once and then returning them so they can get their money back.
The trend, which is worrying for online stores, is particularly common in the 18 to 29 year old age bracket, according to a new survey, with around a third saying that they had previously worn items before sending them back for a refund.
Before the advent of online shopping, returning an item meant going to speak face to face with a sales assistant, explaining why you were bringing it back. But, with the increasing popularity of shopping online, many feel more confident returning clothing, even if it is not in pristine condition.
Londoners most likely to wardrobe
And, the research has revealed there are geographic trends in terms of which areas are more likely to be home to people willing to carry out the scam. People who live in London are said to be happiest to carry out wardrobing, with a quarter saying they had done so. However, in the East Midlands, only nine per cent of respondents said they would send something back after wearing it. However, the picture was very different when respondents were asked if they would wear something and then take it back in person, with only one in nine of the 2,056 adults surveyed saying they would do so.
The trend is particularly worrying for online stores, who see their profits fall each time someone returns an item. In a bid to stop so many people returning, many online shops have now stopped offering free returns, hoping that shoppers will be deterred from sending items back if they have to pay for postage themselves.