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New Upgraded Points Study Exposes Americans' Online Shopping and Return Tendencies: 78% Disclose Amazon as Their Preferred Vendor
[November 28, 2023]

New Upgraded Points Study Exposes Americans' Online Shopping and Return Tendencies: 78% Disclose Amazon as Their Preferred Vendor


Shaping Return Policies and Consumer Expectations Across America: Gen Z Leads in Frequency of Online Returns but Is Least Likely to Check Return Policies

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 28, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Upgraded Points offered a compelling look at the evolving landscape of online shopping and consumer return habits in a recent study. Highlighting the significant influence of retail giant Amazon, the comprehensive analysis dives into the patterns and preferences shaping today's e-commerce experience across multiple generations of shoppers.

"Online shopping has forever changed the way we purchase and return products – that's just a given," said Keri Stooksbury, Editor-in-Chief at Upgraded Points. "Our study highlights the significant impact of Amazon and its customer-centric process. The Amazon paradigm heralded a major change in consumer expectations that we now see reflected across the entire retail industry."

Study Methodology

The study focused on 1,000 Americans who shop online at least once a month. Designed to look at multiple online shopping habits and nuances, the study focused heavily on how shoppers handle returns. The survey included questions like how often shoppers return items, why they choose to return purchases, their preferred return locations and methods, and even prepurchase practices like whether or not shoppers scan return policies prior to buying. Detailed age and generation metrics were also gathered.

Amazon's Return Process: Evolving What Consumers Expect Everywhere

  • High Satisfaction Rates: 72% of Americans expressed positive sentiments toward Amazon's return process overall, with baby boomer being the happiest.
  • Gen Z's Unique Position: Despite being the most active online shoppers, Gen Zers are the least satisfied with Amazon's return procedures.



Top 10 Return Reasons: Unpacking Shopper's Motivations

A few of the top 10 reasons why shoppers return items include:


  • Item Defective or Broken (54.7%)
  • Missing or Broken Parts (37.8%)
  • Wrong Item Was Sent (20.3%)
  • Product Damaged but Package Fine (20.5%)
  • No Longer Need (24.2%)

Amazon's Ripple Effect: Key Consumer Insights

  • Buying More: Online shoppers are twice as likely to purchase additional items or add-ons if they can get free returns, rather than just 2-day shipping.
  • Admitting to Returns After Use: About 22% of Americans confess to using an item before returning it, with Gen Zers being the most frequent culprits. 1 in 10 Americans (13%) have falsely claimed that an item was damaged to complete a return.
  • Popular Shopping Modes: 52% of Americans predominantly shop online, while 14% prefer in-store, and 34% use a blend of both.
  • Some Gender Return Trends: Women exhibit a higher average rate of returning online orders compared to men.
  • Generational Return Patterns: Gen Z leads in frequency of online returns but is less likely to check return policies. And online shoppers are most likely to make returns during January (51%) rather than November (14%) or December (28%). Shoppers find themselves making more holiday returns after the winter gift-giving holiday season (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.) (59%) than to Black Friday (17%), Cyber Monday (8%), and Amazon Prime Day (16%) combined.
  • The Big Online Favorite: On average, 78% of Americans prefer Amazon as their online vendor, and more males (78%) claim to use it than females (70%).
  • Free Shipping Is King: Nearly 9 in every 10 shoppers (87%) will not return an item if they have to pay for the return shipping.

"Our findings clearly show that Amazon's efficient return process has definitely raised the bar for other retailers, often forcing competitors to offer equally streamlined return experiences if they want to keep customers," added Stooksbury.

For a more detailed look at the individual categories and results by generation, along with a series of colorful pie charts and helpful break downs, please visit the complete study online.

About Upgraded Points LLC

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Upgraded Points is a travel company that helps to demystify the complex world of travel and credit cards. Launched in 2016 by Alex Miller, Upgraded Points uses targeted research efforts and in-depth studies to help travelers maximize their travel, points, and experiences. Learn more at: www.UpgradedPoints.com.

Media Contact:

Alex Miller, Founder
1-214-646-8866
[email protected] 

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SOURCE Upgraded Points


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