A few days ago, USA Today released a study through the publication's online technology blog, Technology Live. The study claims that consumers are returning lots of electronics. This is costing the consumer electronics industry a lot of money according the management consulting firm Accenture's study.
This study claims that these returns are costing retailers and manufacturers almost $17 billion this year alone, which is an increase of 21% since 2007. Apparently, product returns have increased 57% for retailers and 43% for manufacturers.
However, today the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) released a study that claims this is not the case. According to the study conducted by CEA and research firm ShowUhow, electronics returns have not increased. The study is called CE Products Returns: Understand Why They Occur and How to Reduce Them. This study claims that returns have remained consistent over the past few years. Not only that, the study goes on to claim that most returns that do happen are exchanged for the same model and brand.
The emergence of the CEA report seems a little convenient in refuting the claims publicized by USA Today, but that is most likely just coincidence. CEA regularly conducts surveys and studies to gauge the public's response to the consumer electronics industry. So what explains the discrepancy in these reports?
Most likely it is the sample size of the surveys. Most likely neither one of these studies has been tampered with or influenced. Both studies are probably accurate - for the people that were surveyed. One would imagine that CEA's survey has a larger survey base, however, as they are a large institution that regularly conducts research.
At least, one must hope that CEA's is the more accurate report, because the Accenture report spells very bad news for the consumer electronics industry.