'Hashtag moments': Fashion shoppers snapping and sending back

Almost one in ten shoppers in the UK admit they have purchased clothes online to wear once with the sole aim of posting a photo to social media and subsequently returning their purchases.

The 35-44-year-old age group is most likely to do this, with 17% of this demographic saying they have bought clothing to create a so-called ‘hashtag moment’.

Barclaycard, which is responsible for almost half of the nation’s debit and credit card transactions, commissioned the research. Some 2,002 people took part in the survey.

The research indicates that men are more likely to buy clothes for this purpose than women, while 15% of men also admitted to wearing clothes with the tags on in case they want to return them, compared to 11% of the opposite sex.

George Allardice, head of strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, commented: “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 £7 billion a year in sales that they potentially can’t recognise.”

He added: “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.”

Barclaycard suggests the rise of the ‘try before you buy’ services in retail, which includes online fashion house Asos’s use of Klarna’s Pay Later solution, is contributing to what it calls the ‘snap and send back’ trend. Some 31% of the survey respondents said they are more likely to return items they purchase online using ‘try before you buy’ because they do not have to pay for the item beforehand.