Electronics products returns to cost $17B to US retailers & manufacturers
by Deepak Sharma on Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Customers returning electronic devices will cost U.S. electronics retailers and manufacturers about $17 billion this year, an increase of about 21% from 2007, consulting company Accenture said in a new report. These costs include receiving, assessing, repairing, reboxing, restocking and reselling returned products.
The research is based in part on a survey of executives from communications carriers, consumer electronics retailing and consumer electronics manufacturing companies, which revealed that product return rates over the past three to five years have increased for more than half of the retailers (57 percent) and nearly half (43 percent) of the manufacturers surveyed. Only 13 percent of the retailers and 12 percent of the manufacturers surveyed indicated that return rates are trending downward.
However, the Accenture research also revealed a significant opportunity for the industry to cut costs and reduce the level of product returns, given that only 5 percent of returns are related to actual product defects. While 27 percent reflect “buyer’s remorse,” 68 percent of returned products ultimately are characterized as “No Trouble Found.” This means that, despite the customer perceiving a fault, no problem was detected when the item was tested against specifications set by retailers or manufacturers, according to Accenture’s new published report, titled “A Returning Problem: Reducing the Quantity and Cost of Product Returns in Consumer Electronics,” which captures key findings and insights based on the survey (www.accenture.com/product-returns-electronics).
The report also concludes that solving this No Trouble Found problem – or even reducing it slightly – could have a significant impact on the cost of returns. Accenture has calculated that a 1 percent reduction in the number of No Trouble Found cases could translate to annual savings of 4 percent in return and repair costs, or $21 million for a typical large consumer electronics manufacturer and $16 million for the average consumer electronics retailer.