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69% of Men Don’t Return Clothes That Don’t Fit

Let’s be real, shopping for clothes can feel like a nightmare. With ever-changing trends, stuffy changing rooms with bad lighting and pushy sales assistants, it’s no wonder why 62% of online sales in 2021 were clothes and shoes.

At Spoke, we wanted to make shopping for clothes fun and hassle-free again, so we made a range of refined, modern menswear available in over 400 sizes, including the only size that matters - yours. It doesn’t get much better than custom-fit clothes delivered to your door. But, we wanted to dig a little deeper and understand men’s online shopping and returns habits, so we surveyed 2,000 UK men from a range of different ages, regions and occupations who regularly shop online to find out how they shop.

20% of Men Admitted to Never Returning Ill-Fitting Items of Clothing

From our survey, we discovered that 20% of men never return ill-fitting items of clothing, and a further 49% of men had a laissez-faire approach to returningill-fitting clothes, regardless of the price. In fact, 40% of men agreed that price wouldn’t play a part in returning an item any way. That means that only 31% of men do return poorly fitting clothes.

Of course, we needed to know why so many were willing to put up with ill-fitting clothes in their wardrobes, and the main reasons were:

  • I can't be bothered (17%) 

  • I’ll give it to a friend or family member instead (15%)

  • I keep it because it might fit me one day (14%)

  • I don't know how to return it (10%)

Even with the options of a parcel drop-off or included return labels to make it as easy and hassle-free as possible, 16% of men still said they wouldn’t return the clothing. 

Of all the regions, West Midlands men are more likely to return ill-fitting clothes (60%). However, 81% of men living in the East Midlands admitted to never returning online clothes purchases. 

20% of men in London said that they would rather gift clothes to friends or family members that didn't fit rather than return them. And, of all the occupations, we learned that community and social service workers were the most giving, with 25% donating their ill-fitting clothes to loved ones - generosity must be in the job description!

20% of men also kept ill-fitting clothes, with the hopes they’ll fit them one day. We’ve all been there.

Trousers and Jeans are the Most Commonly Returned Item

Trousers and jeans are notoriously difficult to buy and get the fit just right. So it wasn’t a surprise to learn that they made up 15% of returns. And the most common reason for the return? You guessed it - poor fit! 

31% of men returned jeans that didn’t fit how they expected them to, and we fully understand the disappointment, which is why, at Spoke, we specialise in legendary legwear and know that fit matters most. Hitting the sweet spot between bespoke and ‘ready to wear’, we offer over 400 size combinations, hand-finished and delivered to your door. Use our Ffit Ffinder to discover your perfect size in just 60 seconds.

We stand by our clothes, which is why everything comes with a 200-day guarantee. No matter what the problem is, if you’re not happy with the product, you’ll have 200 days to return it. Ideally, you’ll tell us why so we can improve and try to fix the problem for you too.

Men Spend an Average of £290 a Year on Clothes They Never Wear

On average, men spend more than £200 on online clothing purchases a month and £290 a year on clothes they never wear. 

We also found that men in Northern Ireland tend to spend the most on clothes that never get worn, with an average of £475 a year compared to East Midlands men, who spend only an average of £138.

While it certainly wastes the money they make, hanging on to the clothes or giving them away to a friend, might not be such a bad thing after all as an estimated 50% of returns never make it back into a clothing company’s inventory. In the worst cases, these clothes go on to be incinerated or to landfill. So, whether they are aware or not, UK men might actually be doing the environment a favour by not returning ill-fitting clothing, especially if they donate them to charity - despite their wallets suffering.

1/3 of Men Don’t Listen to Friends or Family Opinions When They Shop

When it comes to men’s online shopping habits, our study discovered that 42% of men shop for clothes once a month or less, and, when shopping for clothes online, 1/3 of men agree that the opinions of friends and family and fashion trends are unimportant and wouldn’t influence their choices. Typically, men look for these main factors:

  • Size/Fit (53%)

  • Quality (50%) 

  • Comfort (47%)

Another factor that 25% of men consider before buying an item of clothing is ‘how easy it is to return an item’.

We also learned that, on average, 57% of men will only sometimes compare clothing prices from one site to another, while 9% never compare prices and will simply buy the first item they see that they were looking for. The most savvy shoppers appeared to be in Northern Ireland where 48% said they would always compare prices to get the best deal possible. 

Stereotypically, it's believed that men want to shop and get in and out of stores as quickly as possible. But, while this may be true for some, when it comes to online shopping, 41% take up to 30 minutes on an online store before making a purchase and 27% said they take between 30 minutes to an hour shopping for clothes online. In fact, only 10% claimed they take less than 5 minutes on an online store before buying clothes. 

Northern Ireland Make the Most Online Purchases

So, the question on everyone’s lip is, where in the UK are men online clothes shopping and returning the most? 

Interestingly, men in Northern Ireland were more likely to shop for clothes online every day than in any other region in the UK. Another study showed that people in Northern Ireland also made the most online purchases during the 2020 lockdown, with 88% of online orders made compared to 69% of English, 74% of Scottish and 79% of Welsh shoppers. 

On average - and this may not come as a surprise - London men spend 3x more than most savvy spenders in the East Midlands (£360 a month).

UK Men are Less Likely to Return Clothes than US Men

Are US men really that different when it comes to shopping for clothes online? The answer is a resounding yes! We surveyed 2,000 US men too and discovered that US men tend to shop more frequently for clothes than UK men and, subsequently, spend more money each month - an additional £130, on average. 

UK men are less likely to return clothes than US men, and US men are a tad more generous, with 30% offering ill-fitting clothing purchases to a friend or family member. Read our full study on US men’s shopping habits to find out more!