'Tis the season for Christmas gift returns — and this year, America's least-wanted item appears to be iTunes gift cards. Google data shows that in 15 states, this was the item that gift recipients most wanted to return. We don't know if these items were actually returned, but Google Trends can show the top retail item searched in each state over the past few days with the term "return" somewhere in the search.
Gift cards for other retailers didn't do too well either. Gift cards for Starbucks, T.J. Maxx, Applebee's — all of them turn up in Google's search data on what people want to return. The runner up to gift cards appears to be the Fitbit — the top search item in three states — which maybe sends not quite the right message to the gift recipient.
Americans returned $260 billion in merchandise last year, up more than 66 percent from five years ago, according to the National Retail Federation. And more than 20 percent of returns happen during the holiday season, or roughly $60 billion in merchandise, estimates Optoro, a company that specializes in processing returned retail inventory.
Now you know for next year: Lay off the gift cards — they might just head right back to the shelves.