49% Expecting Tax Refunds Will Save the Money

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “49% Expecting Tax Refunds Will Save the Money”

Planning for the future is top of mind for Americans this year, with more consumers than ever putting their tax refunds into savings. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Tax Returns Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 49.2 percent of those expecting a refund plan to save the money rather than spend it right away, the highest percentage in the survey’s history. Nearly two-​thirds (65.5 percent) of those surveyed expect a refund.

"Consumers are boosting their confidence and building their spending power as they set aside their checks from Uncle Sam,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Americans this year see refund season as a time to improve their financial health by using their refunds to get ahead on savings goals, pay down debt and plan for purchases in the future. Money saved is spending potential down the road.”

Consumers know just what they want to do with their refunds this year: In addition to savings, 34.9 percent plan to pay down debt and 22.4 percent will use the refunds for everyday expenses. While 11.4 percent plan to book a vacation, 9.2 percent plan to spend on major purchases like a television or car. Splurges are still in the cards for some, with 8.3 percent planning to indulge on a purchase like a salon or spa service or an elaborate night out.

Keep in mind this audience could be setting some of that refund aside for purchases down the road. AudienceSCAN found that 28.4% of Savers plan to take trips to state/​national parks this year. And 27% will buy a new smartphone (or smartphone upgrade).

According to the survey, 57.3 percent of 18-​to-​24 year-​olds plan to save their refunds, and 27.4 percent will use it for groceries, gas and other everyday purchases. But plenty of young consumers will have some fun too: 12.6 percent will spend it on vacations and 13.4 percent will splurge. More than half (52.3 percent) of those ages 25–34 plan to tuck their refunds into savings and 45 percent will use it to pay down debt.

According to AudienceSCAN, 18.2% of those who want to reduce debt and/​or increase savings are Gen Y: aged 25 to 34.

Millennials are being wise and putting saving ahead of splurging as they look for ways to get ahead,” Prosper Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow said. “Young consumers see their refund as an opportunity to build their savings without making a dent in their monthly budget.”

According to the survey, 66.9 percent of Americans plan to file their taxes online, the most in survey history. Additionally, 38.2 percent will use computer software to prepare their taxes on their own, while 14.2 percent will file manually. Others plan to have a spouse, friend or relative help (16.1 percent) and 21.4 percent will hire an accountant. Of those surveyed, 21 percent already filed their taxes, 38 percent planned to do so in February, 24.5 percent will file in March and 15.4 percent will take their time and file at the last minute in April.

Your advertisers can reach them while they're online filing their taxes! AudienceSCAN found that 73.6% of Savers use Windows OS away from work, and 41% use Android smartphones. Emailed ads or newsletter ads should be effective in reaching this audience because 30.4% of Savers took action after receiving them in the past month. Also try to sell some SEO services: 29.1% took action based on their sponsored search results (like on Google, Yahoo or Bing).

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.