According to a new survey from Wish, most people have received terrible gifts in the past, but they don’t feel like they’re guilty of bad gifting. The survey asked respondents in the U.S. and Europe about their thoughts on giving and receiving gifts, as well as their reactions when receiving a bad one. 

In the U.S., 72% of respondents said they have received a gift that was so disappointing that they didn’t understand why they received it at all. Nearly 40% said they have received gifts so bad they felt insulted, and another nearly 25% said a gift was so bad, it led to an argument. Most Americans think they can fake enthusiasm well enough to get by when opening gifts; nearly 80% believe they excel at showing fake excitement when opening a bad present.  

“That moment when you open a gift is some of the most nerve-wracking seconds of the holidays. Will you love it? Will you hate it? What were they thinking? Is your face giving away how awful it is,” said Tarun Jain, Chief Product Officer and Chief Customer Officer at Wish.

While opinions varied on what constituted a bad gift (everyone’s tastes vary), over 33% agreed that one of the worst types of gifts is something bought last minute. 

According to the survey, more specific worst gift ideas include:

  • Defective items bought at a discount (28%)
  • Fruitcake (23%)
  • Weight loss items (21%)
  • Political gifts (20%)
  • Out-of-style clothing (16%)
  • Cheap chocolates (13%)
  • Christmas tie (13%)
  • A scale (12%)
  • Knockoff luxury items (10%)
  • Gym membership (10%)

The majority of survey respondents say they receive at least two bad gifts a year and would rather not receive a gift than be given one they hate. It might be of some comfort to know that in both the U.S. and Europe, partners or spouses were most likely to give bad gifts.

Other findings from the survey include: 

  • Roughly 75% of respondents said they believe they have never given a bad gift.
  • In the U.S., 20% of people regift a bad gift rather than return it.
  • In Spain, 45% of people disliked a present so much they were left speechless.
  • In Germany, 35% of parents said their kids have been ungrateful about a gift.
  • In the U.K, 23% of bad gifts come from a person’s inlaws.
  • Globally, more than 33% of recipients feel obligated to wear or display a bad gift or post it on social channels so the gift giver doesn’t feel bad.

Wish commissioned Perspectus Global to conduct a survey on the consumer mindsets toward and experiences with bad gifts given and received during the holidays in October 2022. A total of 6,143 respondents aged 18-60+ were surveyed across the U.S. (2,070), the U.K. (2,021), Spain (1,029), and Germany (1,023).