LOS ANGELES, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Tax season is here, and 58 percent of consumers are planning to receive a refund this year, according to a survey conducted by PriceGrabber ®, a part of Experian. Conducted from March 5–12, 2012, the survey includes responses from 2,980 U.S. online shopping consumers. Of the respondents anticipating a tax refund this year, 27 percent expect to receive more money compared with last year and 31 percent expect to receive the same amount. Twenty-seven percent of respondents expect to receive less compared with 2011, and 15 percent don't know what to expect.
Forty-three percent plan to shopWhen respondents expecting to receive a tax refund this year were asked if they plan to use the money to shop, 43 percent said they plan to do so. When consumers were asked to select all of the items or activities they will purchase with their refund money, electronics topped the list. Twenty-six percent of respondents cited purchasing consumer electronics such as HDTVs, cameras or smartphones, and 25 percent selected computers, laptops, tablets or ereaders. Clothing and home goods tied for third — both receiving 24 percent of the votes — and 22 percent of consumers selected travel and vacations.
"PriceGrabber continues to see a consumer appetite to shop this year, with electronic products topping the purchase wish list based on survey respondents planning to use their tax refund to shop," commented Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber.Those not shopping plan to save their tax refundWhen the 57 percent of respondents not planning to shop with their tax refund money were asked to select all of the ways in which they plan to use the refund, 40 percent said they will put it in savings. Twenty-six percent of consumers plan to use the refund to pay off credit card debt; 10 percent selected home improvements; and 9 percent will use the refund to pay off student loans, auto loans or a mortgage. Seven percent of respondents plan to invest the money, and 5 percent plan to indulge and use the refund for leisure activities such as travel, dining out, concerts/events or spas. February and March are top months for filing tax returnsConsumers don't plan to wait until the very last minute to file their tax returns this year, according to PriceGrabber survey data. When asked when they filed or plan to file their tax returns, 43 percent said during February. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they plan to file during March, and 13 percent said they plan to file during the first part of April. Only 2 percent of respondents said they plan to file on April 17, the very last day, and 3 percent said they plan to request an extension. Moreover, electronic filing is the preferred method this year, with 85 percent of respondents planning to do so, compared with only 15 percent of consumers who plan to file their returns by mail. "While we have seen mobile device apps become more popular from a shopping-related standpoint, it seems that tax preparation apps are not as widely adopted yet among consumers," added Jones. "Our survey indicates that 88 percent of consumers do not plan to download a tax preparation app onto a mobile device in order to prepare their tax returns this year."