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U.S. Consumer Electronics Returns in 2011: $17 Billion
Dec 15, 2011
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Customer returns of consumer electronics products will cost U.S. consumer electronics retailers and manufacturers almost $17 billion in 2011, up 21% from 2007, according to an Accenture research report. These costs include receiving, assessing, repairing, reboxing, restocking, and reselling returned products.

A survey shows product return rates over the past 3-5 years have increased for 57% of retailers and 43% of manufacturers surveyed. Those who said they see returns decreasing: 13% of retailers and 12% of manufacturers.

But the research firm added that – with only 5% of returns related to product defects – there's room for reduction in returns. 27% of returns are a result of “buyer’s remorse.” 68% of returned products are ultimately designated as “No Trouble Found," meaning the customer thought there was a problem with the unit but no problem was found when the unit was tested to retailers or manufacturer specifications.

Even reducing the No Trouble Found problem slightly could significant impact the cost of returns – the market research firm estimates that a 1% reduction in the number of such cases could mean 4% in return and repair costs annually. It estimates this could save a "typical large consumer electronics manufacturer" $21 million annually and save an "average consumer electronics retailer" $16 million annually.

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