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WOMEN are more likely than men to return unsuitable items purchased online, new research has shown.

The majority of money spent online in a year by the average shopper is splashed out on clothing (€241), consumer electronics (€233) and mobile phones (€228).

These are also the items most likely to be returned, whereas lower cost items tend not to be returned, with consumers holding on to cosmetics and toiletries, books, CDs and DVDs.

Research commissioned by largest parcel delivery business Nightline reveals more than half of all online shoppers will return an unsuitable item for a refund, though women are more likely to do so.

A new Parcel Motel service will help to make the returns process even cheaper and easier for consumers, Nightline said.

It is investing €1m in the new send and return service, on top of the €5m which was invested into the delivery service in 2012.

John Tuohy, Nightline chief executive, said: "We are delighted to launch the new Parcel Motel Send and Return Service which will save online shoppers all over Ireland not just time but also money, when returning online purchases.

"The only service of its kind in Ireland, Parcel Motel is a secure and convenient service that allows online shoppers to now not only take delivery but also return purchases when and where it suits them."