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STUDY: Age group shopping behaviour



Published on: January 24, 2023

Updated: September 7, 2023

Parcellab study

NEW YORK, USA, JANUARY 24, 2022: When it comes to online returns, different age groups have varying levels of tolerance and patience. Research conducted by parcelLab, the leading post-purchase and returns software provider, found that shoppers ages 25 to 34 have the highest return frequency out of all age groups. Meanwhile, those between the ages of 35 to 44 are most likely to return clothes out of all other age groups.


The report, titled The State of Online Order Returns in 2022, was conducted in partnership with YouGov. It also found the youngest age group in the study—those between 18 to 24 years old—have the lowest return frequency. Compared to other generations, these consumers are the least averse to fees when returning orders.

Older generations also exhibited distinct behaviors. parcelLab found that shoppers over the age of 55 are more likely to choose in-store returns than other age groups. They are also the least forgiving when it comes to poor or inconvenient returns.

“Consumers have different preferences and behaviors around online shopping and returns. If there’s one thing this study teaches us, it’s that brands must truly get to know their target audience and tailor the customer experience accordingly,” says Tobias Buxhoidt, Founder and CEO of parcelLab.

That being said, parcelLab uncovered certain findings that were consistent across multiple generations. When asked whether or not a brand’s return policy sways their purchase decisions, 92% (across all age groups) answered yes. In addition, 62% of shoppers say they are unlikely to shop with a retailer that provides a poor returns experience.

“These findings demonstrate that having a customer-friendly return policy is key—regardless of how old your shoppers are. Retailers can achieve this by establishing smart processes and communicating with customers during the post-purchase stage of the retail journey,” remarks Buxhoidt.

He continues, “having an intuitive returns management platform can go a long way in this regard. By giving customers a hub in which they can initiate and track their returns, shoppers are more likely to have a smooth experience. This leads to a better brand perception and potentially increased sales down the line.”

About the study

The data in parcelLab’s report is based on an online survey conducted between October 6 and 8, 2022. A total of 1,320 people participated in the study, and the results were weighted, and representative of the US population aged 18 and over. View the full report here.

About parcelLab

parcelLab is a leading post-purchase and returns software provider, enabling brands to convert more sales, better engage with their customers, and increase retention.  We bring people and brands closer together by closing the experience gap post-sales and beyond, transforming operational complexity into opportunities to outperform for 500+ brands worldwide, including IKEA, Farfetch and Lidl.

With offices in New York, Munich, London and Paris, we have been highlighted by the Financial Times as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in 2020.

It’s all in a day’s work for us:

  • Monitoring over three million shipments per day
  • Actively managing Operations Experience in 174 countries
  • Sending seven million pro-active, personalized, event-driven emails
  • Tracking shipping data from more than 350+ carriers worldwide, including DHL, FedEx & DPD
  • Creating over 30 million reasons for people to fall in love with brands every day


For brands, that means more chances to create relationships that last. And for the people that buy from them, it means turning mundane operational moments into moments of joy.

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