One-in-Five Consumers Plan to Spend Much of Their Tax Refund

A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents who expect to receive a tax refund in 2019 found that more than half (53 percent) are anticipating receiving the same, or more, money this year. The survey, which attempted to analyze consumer behavior related to tax season, was conducted by Valassis, an “intelligent media delivery” company.

While a large portion of respondents, 53 percent, plan to save the majority of their refund, more than one in five (21 percent) are looking to spend all or most of it, according to an announcement about the survey results. Additionally, 63 percent expect to get more than $1,000. This presents an opportunity for retailers, as consumers will be armed with substantial extra cash to allocate toward larger purchases, the announcement noted.

Twenty percent of shoppers are unsure of how they’ll use their refund, representing another key target for marketers.

“Tax season presents a unique opportunity for marketers to motivate consumers with high purchase intent, or those who are unsure how they’ll spend their refund and can be readily influenced,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer at Valassis, said in the announcement. “Having extra cash on-hand can encourage consumers to spend more freely on experiences like dining out or high-consideration areas like home improvement projects. Retailers can capture a portion of this spend throughout tax season and beyond by placing relevant deals in front of consumers.”

In terms of where consumers most commonly plan to allocate their tax refunds this year:

• Home improvement or furnishings (15 percent);
• A vacation or experience such as dining out or a ticketed event (12 percent);
• Material items like apparel or electronics (7 percent); and
• A car purchase or automotive maintenance (6 percent).

All respondents to this survey, conducted in February 2019, were located in the United States and were over the age of 18.