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New Data by ReturnBear Reveals 46% of Younger Canadians Have Lost Money From Keeping Unwanted Items They Didn’t Return Since the Pandemic

Amid skyrocketing inflation, new findings show the cost of retail returns, national demand for a solution

Today, ReturnBear, Canada’s first end-to-end returns solution, released new data commissioned by The Angus Reid Forum that showcases the cost of retail returns and the impact it has on shopping habits. The data found that nearly half (46%) of Canadians aged 18-34 have lost money from keeping unwanted items they didn’t return since the pandemic. Returns are a pain point for Canadians, with many accumulating items and expenses to avoid the hassle, and others returning items they purchased after realizing fears of inflation.

The findings show that there is national demand for a better retail returns solution, and a willingness from Canadians to take alternative measures to avoid returns altogether.

Key data highlights include:

  • One-third (34%) of Canadians have lost money from keeping unwanted items they didn’t return since the pandemic. 19% of Canadians have lost over $100, 1-in-10 (9%) Canadians have lost $250 or more.
  • Younger Canadians are more likely have lost money from keeping unwanted items they didn’t return since the pandemic. 1-in-5 (20%) Canadians aged 18-34 have less than $100, 15% have lost at least $250, and 9% have lost more than $500.
  • In the past six months, Canadians have been cutting down on spending due to inflation. 1-in-4 (25%) younger Canadians have felt forced to return clothes they’ve purchased, significantly higher than Canadians aged 35-54 (17%) and especially those 55+ (7%).

“Canadians are feeling the burden of retail returns. Many young Canadians are losing money simply to avoid the hassle of returning an item that didn't work out. Millennials and Gen Z value speed, convenience, and affordability, and retailers need to pay attention to their wants and needs, especially in the shifting economic landscape,” said Robert Domagala, Head of Business Development and Marketing at ReturnBear. “As we head into a potential recession, it’s more important than ever for retailers to cut the costs of returns for both themselves and their customers, and that’s exactly what ReturnBear does. We see a huge opportunity to provide a better solution to shoppers, and also correct the escalating problem of returns in the industry.”

These are the findings of two surveys conducted by ReturnBear on July 8, 2022 and July 29, 2022 with nationally representative samples of 1,507 and 1,503 online Canadians, respectively, who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, balanced and weighted on age, gender, region and education. The surveys were conducted in both English and French.

About ReturnBear: Founded in October 2021 with a mission to make comprehensive returns services accessible to everyone, and better for the planet, ReturnBear is Canada’s first end-to-end returns and reverse logistics solution. Brands using ReturnBear can offer self-serve exchanges and returns to their customers, along with convenient package-free drop-off options. They can count on ReturnBear’s item QA and processing to get products back into forward-supply faster, and can optimize returns and exchanges with advanced automations and analytics.

ReturnBear is backed by Cadillac Fairview (CF) and Koru, an innovative venture foundry that builds new businesses to drive disruptive growth for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan portfolio companies. ReturnBear is a modern solution that makes eCommerce exchanges and returns delightful for consumers, and more efficient for retailers by reducing the cost and complexity of their reverse logistics.

About Angus Reid Forum surveys: The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.


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