Survey: More consumers plan to use tax refund to shop

Los Angeles -- Survey results released Wednesday by PriceGrabber found that 54% of consumers expect to receive a tax refund this year. And, the majority plans to use the money for purchases.

According to PriceGrabber’s poll of 5,655 U.S. online shopping consumers, 24% anticipate a bigger refund than last year and 26% expect about the same amount. Thirty-two percent anticipate receiving less compared to 2012, and 18% aren't sure how much money they will receive.

"As expected, many taxpayers are looking to save or pay off credit card debt with their refund, however our survey data also indicates a springtime boost in the economy as 56% (a 13% increase over last year) plan to splurge on clothing, home goods and electronics this year," said Rojeh Avanesian , VP marketing and analytics of PriceGrabber.

When consumers were asked to select all of the items or activities they will purchase with their tax refund, clothing was the top selection with 34% of respondents. Home goods and consumer electronics such as HDTVs, cameras or smartphones, tied for second place receiving 28% of the vote. Computers, laptops, tablets and e-readers followed in third with 34%, and 23% of consumers selected travel and vacations.

Those not shopping plan to save their tax refund. When the 44% of respondents who indicated they are not planning to shop with their refund money were asked to select all the ways they plan to use the refund, 37% said they will put it in savings. Twenty-six percent of consumers plan to pay off credit card debt; 12% plan to create an emergency fund; 11% selected home improvements; and 10% will pay off student loans, auto loans or a mortgage. Five percent of respondents plan to invest the money, and another 5% plan to indulge in leisure activities such as travel, dining out, concerts/events or spas.

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