Over twice as many consumers find returning products via eCommerce sites/apps easier than in retail stores


  • • Gadgets is the category where highest number of consumers had issues related to returns with eCommerce sites/apps
  • • Majority of the consumers say they received their product return refund within 14 days from eCommerce sites/apps
Citizens want the Government to not just provide a tax cut via Budget 2020 but also provide an incentive to spend the same

January 17, 2020, New Delhi: Over the last 12 months, various comparisons have been made between the ecommerce sites and retail stores, with both having their own advantages and disadvantages. eCommerce provides the consumer more competitive prices, more selection and convenience while physical retail provides them the ability to see and examine a product before making their purchase decision.

However, one area where the ecommerce sites are scoring over the retail stores is the ease of returns and refunds the ecommerce sites and apps offer.

LocalCircles conducted a large consumer pulse check on this aspect of the ecommerce industry and received more than 41,000 responses from consumers spread across the country.

The first question asked citizens in the last one year where did they find returning products easier between ecommerce and physical retail stores. 45% chose ecommerce sites while 12% chose retail stores. 23% said both were easy and 10% said both were hard. 10% were unsure about it.

Over twice as many consumers find returning products via eCommerce sites/apps easier than in retail stores

Over twice as many consumers find returning products via eCommerce sites/apps easier than in retail stores

Consumers are happy with the return & refunds options that most ecommerce sites offer, which means that even though one can touch and feel the product at a retail store, returning the product and receiving a full refund becomes very easy with the ecommerce sites. Customers can order the product from the comfort of their homes, check the product once it arrives at their house and then return it if they don’t like it.

Gadgets turned out to be the category where highest number of consumers had issues related to returns with ecommerce sites and apps with 24% voting for it. 4% said apparels, 4% said whitegoods, 10% said home décor and furnishings, 10% said groceries & food while another 10% said shoes and bags. 38% chose others.

Gadgets is the category where highest number of consumers had issues related to returns with eCommerce sites/apps

Gadgets is the category where highest number of consumers had issues related to returns with eCommerce sites/apps

Gadgets are usually high value products and once sold by the ecommerce sites, their warranty is taken care directly by the manufacturer however many consumers tend to contact the ecommerce site in case of issues.

In the following question, 58% consumers said they were happy with the way ecommerce sites/apps are processing returns and refunds. 16% said returns were processed expeditiously but refunds took a long time. 14% said they had trouble with both returns & refunds, while 12% were unsure.

58% consumers happy with the way eCommerce sites/apps are processing returns and refunds

58% consumers happy with the way eCommerce sites/apps are processing returns and refunds

Cases of refunds not being done for long periods of time are not unheard of. Although most ecommerce sites have streamlined their refund processes to ensure that they don’t lose customers, such cases are reported from time to time.

Following question asked when they returned merchandise back to ecommerce sites, how long did it take for the refund to be processed. 32% said refunds were processed withing 3 days while 35% said it took between 4-14 days for the refunds to get processed. 8% said it took between 14-30 days and 9% said it took lots of follow ups and over 30 days for refund processing. 16% were not sure.

Majority of the consumers say they received their product return refund within 14 days from eCommerce sites/apps

Majority of the consumers say they received their product return refund within 14 days from eCommerce sites/apps

Only 14% consumers said they had issues with returns and refunds via ecommerce sites around 3-5 times in the last 1 year while 35% had the issue once or twice. 35% said hey have always been able to return. These are clear indications that most consumers do not face major issues while trying to return a product and claiming a refund.

Only 14% consumers say they have had repetitive issues with returns and refunds via eCommerce sites/apps

Only 14% consumers say they have had repetitive issues with returns and refunds via eCommerce sites/apps

The last question asked if they were able to reach the customer service of the ecommerce sites in case they had a return or refund request. 57% answered in a yes and said it was easy while 24% said yes but it was difficult. 11% said they could not reach them.

81% consumers say that they were able to reach out to the customer service of eCommerce sites/apps for return and refund issues

81% consumers say that they were able to reach out to the customer service of eCommerce sites/apps for return and refund issues

Many retailer and trader associations have over the last 6 months been alleging unfair practices by ecommerce sites and requesting the Government to investigate the same. However, returns and refunds is one area where the consumer preference is clearly ecommerce and an area where retailers and traders have got to develop more consumer-friendly models.

LocalCircles will be submitting the findings of this survey and additional consumer feedback to relevant Government departments for any policy interventions required.

About LocalCircles

LocalCircles takes Social Media to the next level and makes it about Communities, Governance and Utility. It enables citizens to connect with communities for most aspects of urban daily life like Neighborhood, Constituency, City, Government, Causes, Interests and Needs, seek information/assistance when needed, come together for various initiatives and improve their urban daily life. LocalCircles is free for citizens and always will be!

Akshay Gupta - media@localcircles.com, +91-8585909866

All content in this report is a copyright of LocalCircles. Any reproduction or redistribution of the graphics or the data therein requires the LocalCircles logo to be carried along with it. In case any violation is observed LocalCircles reserves the right to take legal action.

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