The Rise of ‘Wardrobing’: A Growing Trend Among UK Consumers

New Study Shows a 50% Increase in the Number of People Returning Worn Items

New data uncovers that 27% of consumers in the UK have engaged in ‘wardrobing’—the practice of purchasing items, wearing them, and then returning them for a refund. This trend has seen a 50% surge over the past decade, according to a study by, the UK’s leading discount site.

The Growing Popularity of Wardrobing

The research indicates that the number of individuals partaking in wardrobing has risen from 18% in 2013 to 27% today. Moreover, an additional 7% of respondents have expressed interest in adopting this practice in the future, suggesting that the trend is far from waning.

The Role of Online Shopping

The surge in wardrobing is closely linked to the increase in online shopping over the past ten years. Nearly one-third of respondents admit to feeling less guilty about wardrobing when making online purchases as opposed to in-store shopping, with 30% confirming this sentiment.

Tricks of the Trade

Consumers who engage in wardrobing employ various tactics to ensure a successful refund. Nearly a quarter scrutinise the type of tag before making a purchase to confirm its ease of removal (24%). Additionally, 19% of individuals will freshen the item with air freshener or perfume before returning it.

A Glimmer of Hope for Retailers

Despite the rising trend, there is a silver lining for retailers. Over a quarter of those who have engaged in wardrobing (26%) acknowledge that retailers have recently implemented measures making returns more challenging. One such deterrent is the introduction of return fees, which 18% of wardrobers admit makes them less inclined to return worn items.

Expert Commentary

Michael Brandy, Senior Commercial Director at, remarks, “It’s disheartening to see the rise in wardrobing, especially when retailers are already grappling with increased operational costs and a surge in returns. The impact on retailers is significant, particularly if the returned items can’t be resold. However, our data suggests that implementing additional tags and increasing return costs could serve as effective deterrents.”

The study serves as a wake-up call for retailers, highlighting the need for innovative strategies to curb the growing trend of wardrobing among UK consumers

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