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£648m in damaged products to be delivered this Black Friday

With almost one in ten products ordered online arriving damaged, this Black Friday could see a lot of disappointed shoppers dealing with the hassle of returning their bargain purchases, and retailers facing £648m-worth* of refunds and replacements.

  • 8% of the £8.1bn spent during Black Friday week this year will be on products which arrive damaged
  • DS Smith research shows a third of damaged products will be in such a sorry state that they can’t be used
  • Two thirds of all online Black Friday shoppers use event to buy Christmas presents – which could leave a lot of people disappointed…
  • ….and out of pocket: a quarter of shoppers say they don’t seek refunds for damaged products, leaving up to £162m unclaimed this year

In fact, new research released ahead of Black Friday from packaging strategists DS Smith has found that three quarters of online shoppers have received a damaged product in the last 12 months due to the knocks and bumps of the delivery journey.

Three quarters of Black Friday shoppers in the UK are planning to use to event to buy Christmas presents this year, which could leave many disappointed – especially children, given toys account for nearly 10% of the damaged products delivered.

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The real cost of Black Friday

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The emotional impact of the problem is significant. With over two thirds of shoppers (70%) feeling disappointed at damaged products, a third (30%) frustrated, and a quarter angry and upset respectively, it’s not surprising to see the refund process adding further frustration for disillusioned consumers.

Deciding that seeking a refund is too much hassle (40%) or the damage wasn’t severe enough (46%), a quarter of shoppers keep their damaged products, meaning that up to £162m-worth** of refunds could go unclaimed this Black Friday if a replacement is not offered. A third of people have also had refunds refused or delayed – leading frustrated shoppers to place the blame on their delivery company (40%) or incorrectly-sized packaging (15%) for the damage.

Discussing the findings, Greg Dawson, Director of Corporate Affairs at DS Smith said:

The journey from the online retailer to the shopper’s front door has up to 50 touch points, that’s 40 more than an in-store retailer, so it’s vital that the packaging protects the product throughout the entire journey.  

“The financial and emotional cost of receiving a damaged product is significant, especially during the festive period, and retailers need to be able to guarantee that products arrive with customers in one piece, during Black Friday and beyond. By using innovative technology that simulates the delivery journey – such as DS Smith’s DISCS – packaging can be optimised so that it can withstand the bumps and knocks between the online retailer and the shopper’s front door.”

Spending approximately £841 per year shopping online, the typical Black Friday customer buys two products, which have an average value of £81.89.