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Why are so many gifts returned after Christmas?

Nearly half of us will return at least one gift this Christmas

ATLANTA – Now that you’ve finished tearing through that pile of presents, it’s time for that holiday tradition of returning those unwanted gifts.

“Our data shows that 46% of consumers will return one to three gifts this holiday season,” says Carly Llewellyn of Optoro, a company that tracks returns for retailers.  


Part of the answer lies in the type of gifts we’re returning.

Clothes are the number one return item and the issue is usually size. Who knows why Grandma bought you an extra-large sweater when you clearly wear a medium.

Part of the issue is the increase in online sales. Since you can’t touch and examine your gift before it’s shipped there’s the risk it might not be exactly what you or the recipient wanted, or it might be damaged in transit.

A lot of people won’t buy unless there’s a generous return policy, and that’s another factor in why so many gifts go back to the store. Many retailers ease up on their return policies during the holidays, making it easier for you to return that jacket that isn’t exactly the color you wanted.

By the way, nearly half of the returns will take place between December 26th and New Year’s Eve.

Optoro predicted that $90 billion in merchandise was returned during the 2017 holiday season, and expects that number to rise in 2018.