8. January 2020 | Press release

The Netherlands still leads Europe in returns, with the number growing

Electronics segment the fastest riser in returns, as fashion’s share drops

With a return percentage of 13 per cent, Dutch people are still sending back items purchased online at a huge rate. A notable decrease occurred in the fashion segment. Fashion returns, traditionally the leading category for items sent back, dropped by 7 per cent in the Netherlands over the previous year. Returns are also growing in other European countries. In Germany, Ireland, Poland and Switzerland, for example, returns are now 12 per cent, while the European average rose to 10 per cent. All this is revealed in the  E-Shopper Barometer from parcel delivery company DPD. The survey was conducted by Kantar TNS among 24,328 e-shoppers from 22 countries, including 1,010 in the Netherlands.

More and fewer returns

Where more than half (51%) of all Dutch returns previously comprised fashion items, this share has now dropped by 7%. But despite the decline, the fashion segment is still the largest category, at 44 per cent. Meanwhile other categories are catching up. Electronic items are being returned more often, for one. With a 5 per cent increase, the electronics segment now accounts for 9 per cent of all returns. Other categories also experiencing increases are shoes (+2%), leisure (+3%), video games (+2%), groceries (+2%), health (+1%) and toys (+2%).

Ease of returning

That the Dutch attach great value to the ease of returning goods is evident from their online purchasing behaviour. For example, 29 per cent of Dutch customers cite a free return option as their most important consideration when placing an online order. At the same time 75 per cent of those surveyed named paying for returns as a reason for halting a purchase. An awkward or complicated return process induces 76 per cent of Dutch customers to abandon the process. Yet in practice the Dutch appear to suffer very little from these obstacles. No fewer than 62 per cent of them indicate that it’s easy to return items. This is significantly higher than the European average of 52 per cent, perhaps explaining why the Dutch use returns in such large numbers. Compared to other Europeans for example, the Dutch are more likely to use a return label and carrier facilitated by the retailer, letting them return items free of charge.


Thiemo van Spellen, CCO DPD Netherlands:

“Researching consumer behaviour gives both retailers and DPD more insight into customers’ wishes and needs. This information lets retailers improve the online shopping experience and reduce the number of returns, while DPD focuses on improving the service further for both senders and recipients of parcels. That’s why we continue investing in efficient services and innovative solutions, like our Predict service. Predict notifies recipients of the one-hour delivery period so they don’t have to stay at home all day. Predict also gives recipients the option of changing the delivery time. This increases the chance of a successful first delivery attempt, and reduces the chance of returns.”

About the E-Shopper Barometer

DPD has published the E-Shopper Barometer since 2015, to update retailers on the most current trends in the retail landscape. DPD also wants to make its international expertise accessible to the small business market. The fourth edition of DPD’s E-Shopper Barometer was carried out by Kantar TNS from 30 May to 12 July 2018. The interviews were conducted online among 24,328 participants from 21 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) and Russia. All participants aged 18 years or older had placed and received at least one online order for physical goods since January 2018. Want to know more and compare? Check out: eshopperbarometer.dpd.com/