It’s the final countdown for holiday shoppers who must fill out their lists and check them twice for any last-minute gifts. Everybody hopes to spread joy with their gifting, but gift-giving is only half the battle. How do Americans feel about returning a gift they don’t like? Will a flurry of returns be in order in the weeks ahead? 

New CivicScience polling data of 3,000+ U.S. adults show many may not be feeling the holiday cheer about all the gifts they receive. As many as 41% feel they’re at least ‘somewhat likely’ to return or exchange a holiday gift they don’t like.

Unwrapping the demographic data, older adults are the least likely to return gifts – three out of five (60%) 55+-year-olds are ‘not at all likely’ to return a gift they don’t like. On the other end of the spectrum, 57% of Gen Z adults say they’re at least ‘somewhat likely’ to return or exchange a gift they’re not a fan of. Younger Millennials make up the highest percentage (21%) of those ‘very likely’ to return or exchange gifts, followed closely by older Millennials and younger Gen Xers.

The hefty amount of returned merchandise after last year’s holiday season has retailers feeling the heat and making return policy changes. Clearly, Americans aren’t shy about returning the gifts they’re not feeling holly or jolly about, but which type of gift do they feel is their most returned or exchanged item? 

According to the latest CivicScience polling of holiday gift returners, most aren’t too keen on saving closet space for the gifted clothing they don’t like. An overwhelming majority (55%) report that clothing and related accessories are their most often returned gifts. Considering there’s nearly a 1-in-4 chance that presents this year will contain an article of clothing, this is an area to watch in the weeks ahead.

Don’t miss the latest in 2022 holiday shopping season trends with CivicScience Consumer Holiday Tracker. Want access to these powerful consumer insights? Learn more