Black Friday: nearly three quarters of a billion pounds of goods expected to arrive damaged

Nearly three quarters of a billion pounds’ worth of goods sold to Brits during the 2021 Black Friday period are expected to arrive damaged, according to new research from leading sustainable packaging supplier DS Smith.

A third of Brits plan to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales and of those, two fifths (41%) expect to receive up to 6 faulty or damaged items totalling a value of at least £739m*. Sixty-nine per cent of shoppers have previously received faulty or damaged items after ordering them online.

The experience causes ‘Black Friday Frustration’ with almost half of shoppers (46%) saying that products arriving broken or damaged is the most frustrating consequence of receiving a delivery. Understandably, emotions run high for consumers when packages arrive damaged, leaving Brits feeling disappointed (41%), annoyed (36%) and frustrated (32%).

When it comes to returning an item, the average Brit revealed that anything less than £22 is not worth making the effort to return – creating additional waste as broken items clutter homes across the UK. Of those who haven’t returned damaged items 48% say that it’s because its more hassle than it’s worth, 46% say returning it would cost as much as they originally paid for the item, and 22% say the window for returns isn’t long enough.

Returns also mean losing out on valuable income for brands and retailers as 48% of shoppers prefer to receive a refund as opposed to 34% who ask for a replacement. Forty-one per cent are hesitant to shop with a brand again if they receive broken goods from them.

Stefano Rossi, Packaging CEO at DS Smith, commented: “This eye-opening research shows that consumers are fed up with being delivered damaged goods. Luckily, there is a solution; one of the most effective ways to ensure goods arrive safely is to use the right packaging.

“In addition to the financial and emotional costs of delivering and then returning broken items, there is an environmental cost. We collaborate closely with our customers to design the optimal packaging every time. Packaging that keeps the product safe, deliver a great unboxing experience and have a small environmental footprint. Reducing preventable returns, exchanges and related carbon emissions benefits consumers, retailers and our planet.”

DS Smith’s DISCS™ technology, named after the types of testing (Drop, Impact, Shock, Crush, Shake), replicates the real world product journey to ensure the packaging is fit for purpose. Keeping the product safe while avoiding excess packaging.

The research also shows that the most common types of items to arrive damaged or broken are household items (37%), clothes (28%), appliances such as kettles and toasters (24%), and entertainment items such as books, video games and DVDs (24%). A quarter of shoppers get frustrated when goods arrive with unnecessary packaging (24%), and a fifth are annoyed when packaging is far bigger than needed (20%).

*OnePoll research of 2,000 UK adults. Conducted November 2021

About Tessa Clayton

A former Chief Sub of Red magazine, Tessa Clayton is the Digital Editor of and ToyNews. As a freelance journalist she specialised in writing about parenting and family life, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications and websites including Tesco online, Mother & Baby, Livingetc, Junior, Boots Health & Beauty, Practical Parenting and Get in touch at

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