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LONDON – Almost one in ten Brits have revealed they have bought clothes online to wear once with the aim of posting a photo to social media and subsequently returning their purchases. The figure rises to almost one in five among 35-44 year olds (17 per cent), the biggest percentage of any age group, according to alarming new research.

A survey of 2,002 adults by Bardlaycard showed male shoppers outnumbered women, although the survey omits teenagers, which is a huge demographic for Instagram.

Barclaycard has suggested “try before you buy” policies at online retailers, which sees people only having to pay for clothing they ordered online after they’ve tried it on at home, could be contributing to this depressing trend.

George Allardice, head of strategy, Barclaycard Payment Solutions said: “It’s interesting to see the social media trend further fuelling the returns culture. We know from our research that returns are having a big impact on retailers, with a huge figure of seven billion pounds a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise.

“Retailers are adopting new processes to make returns easier as they know how important this is to customers. But to ensure shoppers are getting more wear out of their clothes – for posting on social media or for those real-life moments – retailers could think about introducing more varied photography and video content to their websites. By showing how to style items for different looks and how they will appear when worn, they could reduce the number of shoppers ‘snapping and sending back’.”


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