This is the Most-Returned Holiday Gift — Plus, the Three Things People Actually Keep

Want to be an all-star gifter this year? Read this before you head to the mall

While you’re spreading holiday cheer this season, you might want to spare a thought to where your carefully chosen gifts might end up. Chances are the answer is right back where they started.

Fifty-four percent of all holiday gifts were exchanged or altered last year, according to data from e-gift platform GiftNow, meaning it’s more likely than not that your lucky giftees will swap out an item they receive.

The most exchanged gifts overall were candy, gum and chocolate, so it’s best to skip the sweets for adults. For women, toddler clothes and sweaters ranked second and third for most altered, meaning they weren’t necessarily returned for cash or credit, but traded in for different sizes or colors, or other items from the same store. For guys, it was dress shirts and athletic apparel that saw the most exchanges.

If you want to select a present that’ll likely stay with your loved one, try one of these: The least returned gifts for women are watches, fine jewelry (necklaces and pendants, in particular) and anti-aging skincare.


The least returned gifts for men are ties, wallets, and (surprise!) anti-aging skincare. Who is bold enough to gift their friend or family member with wrinkle cream isn’t disclosed in the study.

Perhaps the most surprising stat GiftNow uncovered is that men are actually the pickiest when it comes to gifts, with only 37% accepting items as-is, compared to 48% of women who keep the items they receive.

Following suit, 22% of men’s gifts are exchanged while only 19% of women’s gifts are exchanged.

Sufficiently stressed? Maybe this year, just go for gift cards.

Related Articles