Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

Valentine’s Day returns reveal the truth about romance

By Laura Davies, Head of Client Success, ZigZag Global

Finding the perfect gift for a loved one is a struggle on any given day of the year. Throw Valentine’s Day into the mix, and you can find yourself in a world of trouble. 

As returns management specialists, we have access to vast amounts of returns data surrounding the most romantic of holidays. What stories does this data reveal? Did love blossom? Or as usual, did the public have difficulties in navigating this holiday of love?    

Well, the data shows romantic partners are still struggling to find the right gift for their significant other on Valentine’s Day, opting for expensive price tags or thinking lingerie is the height of romance.

For others, the decision on what to wear for the big ‘date night’ means ordering multiple outfits to find the ‘one’, and returning those garments deemed unworthy. Some returners even made life-altering decisions at some point during the day. 

Loose-Fitting Lingerie

We found that 11 of the 100 most returned items were classified as lingerie. Evidently, this was a laced step too far for many. Whether these returns are the result of poorly fitting items, or male partners not quite understanding their other half’s idea of romance, it is clear that finding the perfect fit for your partner is not easy.

We also found that partners don’t always get it right when it comes to gifting and lingerie is often a troublesome choice – many women have their own style and sizing can often be an issue.

Considering this is the first ‘normal’ Valentine’s Day that couples have been able to enjoy since the pandemic, it’s not too much of a surprise to see these return behaviours. Whilst it is the thought that counts, partners need to remember to check sizing and style before buying.

Indecision O’clock

Some women are indecisive over what to wear on Valentine’s Day. This year, 26 of the 100 most returned items were dinner or evening dresses. It is an unsurprising figure given the widespread tendency to order multiple outfit options, knowing easy returns are possible.  

It suggests women wanted to make the most of this year’s Valentine’s Day, following two years of disrupted love, by finding the perfect item for their evening. From ordering multiple sizes and colours of a single item to buying a variety of styles, you can imagine the indecision and panic brewing at the thought. 

As the hefty weight of tradition bears down on us to look our best on Valentine’s day, perhaps the customer’s need for a selection can be understood.

Money is the Route to the Evilest Ways

Showering your partner with expensive gifts may be a winning formula for some, however a more thoughtful and personalised gift is often appreciated far more – even if it does cost half the price! 

Amongst the most expensive items returned to us was an 18 carat, white gold and diamond ankle bracelet worth over £1,900 and a bottle of Eau de Parfum worth £900. What a costly mistake to make! Clearly money isn’t everything and expensive purchases don’t necessarily equate to thoughtful Valentine’s day gifts. 

The Point of no Returns

It seems the holiday may have also sparked some life-changing ‘love’ decisions. As a demonstration of the love between partners, Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year for many. 

Yet, we found that 3 of the 20 most expensive items returned were wedding dresses! Perhaps the day of love revealed to some what was missing from their current relationship. Or maybe some got a little too eager this year!

Whether you were practising for the big day or making significant life changes, the involvement of wedding dresses on Valentine’s day is sure to raise some eyebrows. 

It appears that Valentine’s Day 2022 was filled with panicked buying, questionable decision making and life-altering returns. Our data sheds light on the processes people go through when trying to buy the perfect gift for their Valentine.


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