One in four shoppers avoid buying from international retailers due to concerns around returns, new ESW and Asendia survey reveals

PRNewswire May 15, 2024
  • About half of shoppers are willing to purchase products even if there is a nominal charge to make a return
  • Gen Z shoppers are nearly twice as likely as Baby Boomers to accept a returns fee.
  • A quarter of consumers would be more likely to shop cross-border if all import charges, taxes and duties were disclosed.
  • 40% of shoppers are willing to wait up to a week for their international purchases to be delivered.

HONG KONG, SINGAPORE and SYDNEY, May 15, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Asendia, a global leader in ecommerce and mail solutions, and ESW, leading global direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce company, share the latest insights from Shipping and Returns: Leveraging Logistics to Unlock Global Loyalty.

Key findings based on data from more than 18,000 respondents in 18 countries show customer expectations regarding the post-purchase journey–particularly regarding cross-border returns–are both high and varied.

The report highlights a number of key concerns customers have related to shipping and returns, and helps global brands and merchants understand how to meet consumer expectations.  

The report offers insights into consumer sentiment regarding transparency around fees and return policies, charging a returns or restocking fee, and free returns in exchange for a subscription membership.

To download the “Global Voices Report – Shipping and Returns”, click here

Show me the money  

Returns logistics can be challenging and expensive, therefore many retailers have begun implementing return fees in order to claw back costs and deter shoppers from making excessive purchases with the intention of returning most of them.   

Overall, nearly half of consumers said they are willing to make purchases even if there was a nominal returns charge. However, Gen Z was more than 1.7 times more likely to accept a fee than Baby Boomers. Of the countries surveyed, India, UAE, and South Korea were most willing to accept return charges.

Joining the club

27% of respondents said they are inclined to pay for a membership if it means they can return their purchases for free, another 27% would pay return shipping charges. More than four in 10 shoppers in India, China and Mexico would pay a membership fee that includes free returns yet only 15% of UK, German, and Swiss shoppers would pay a membership fee. They would, however, pay for return shipping.

“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”, comments Helen Scurfield, CEO Global Returns, Asendia. 

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. By partnering with ESW and Asendia, brands and retailers have access to our industry leading solutions allowing them to enter new markets in a matter of weeks and create exceptional customer experiences that foster brand loyalty and deliver revenue growth”, explains Nick Cranney, Global Logistics & Returns, ESW. 

To have more information and obtain a full copy of the report, please visit here.

Notes to editors:


Responses were gathered from an online panel of adults 18+, representative of national quotas for key demographics in 18 countries. Survey questions and responses were translated into each country’s native language and currencies were converted to local currencies before being converted back to $US for comparison purposes. 18,679 surveys were completed between October 31st and November 14th 2023. Overall margin of error is approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level, varying by country population size.

About Asendia: 

Asendia is one of the world’s leaders in international e-commerce and mail, delivering packages, parcels and documents to more than 200 destinations across the globe. Combining the experience and expertise of our founding companies, La Poste and Swiss Post, Asendia brings together a wealth of international and local know-how. Asendia’s expertise is broad reaching encompassing different aspects of e-commerce, from webshop software and marketplace management to international logistics. Asendia is committed to sustainability, being 100% carbon neutral through offsetting. Asendia employs over 1,500 people in Europe, UK, Asia Pacific and the USA – a global network blended with a local presence. 

About ESW: 

ESW is the leading global and domestic direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce company, empowering the world’s best-loved brands and retailers to expand their DTC channel. ESW acquired Scalefast in June 2022, and the combined organisation offers brands and retailers a complete portfolio of technology and services that cost-effectively support any stage of a company’s development. From compliance, data security, fraud protection, taxes and tariffs to demand generation, checkout, delivery, returns and customer service, our powerful combination of technology and human ingenuity covers the entire shopper journey across 200 markets, with 100% carbon neutral shipping to consumers. Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, ESW has global offices in the US, UK, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. ESW is an Asendia Group company, a joint venture between La Poste and Swiss Post.

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SOURCE Asendia

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