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Consumers Often Return Non-Defective Electronics Out Of Sheer Frustration

A new survey by TechSee revealed that 41% of consumers have returned a non-defective item in the last 12 months, which is estimated to contribute to more than $17 billion in lost revenue annually for brick-and-mortar and online retailers. The study also revealed 65% of respondents decide to return non-defective electronics early on, citing frustration and/or confusion during product unboxing/unpackaging, installation, and first use. Other findings:

Consumers most often returned small home appliances, such as blenders and coffee machines (28.5%) followed by entertainment products, including speakers, TVs, and gaming consoles (25.2%); small gadgets (20.3%); phones and tablets (15%); major utility appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators (5.7%); and home office products (4.8%).

Fifty-four percent of consumers agreed that they would return a product if they found it difficult to install, while nearly 70% said they would also return it if they found it difficult to operate, suggesting customer support is a critical component in lowering no-fault-found (NFF) returns. In fact, 72% of those polled stated good customer service would dissuade them from returning a product.

Many participants expressing a propensity to return product also stated they had never seen or interacted with the product – physically or virtually via video or augmented reality – prior to purchasing; only 16% had the ability to “try before they buy.”

Viewing product manuals and still images during unpackaging, installation, and first use was not enough to prevent a return, participants said; only 23% of consumers reported that an image, such as a product manual picture, would deter them from returning the product. Rather, most expressed a preference for live video with an expert (44.4%).