According to a recent Harris Poll, 45 percent of Americans believed that rebate checks would help stimulate the economy. Now that summer is over and the rebate checks are cashed, 52% of Americans say spending the checks did not stimulate the economy and only 37% say that it did.
Though 36% have spent at least some of their rebate, 38% indicate how they intend to spend more, suggesting promotional opportunities remaining to marketers. The nationwide Harris Poll of 2,710 U.S. adults includes other findings:
While the government hoped that the checks would be spent to spur the economy, the reality was different, notes the report.
As predicted, says the report, much of the rebate money ended up deposited in savings or being mailed to credit card issuers. Retailers did try their best to get some of the rebate money, but that did not end up occurring as much as they, and probably the White House, wanted.
With the economic uncertainty, Americans thought they would want to put away some cash and help reduce debt and that is exactly what they did. What seemed like a great economic fix in the earlier part of the year, though, has not panned out according to the results of the study.
The Extent To Which Respondents Agree Or Disagree With The Statement: "Spending My Tax Rebate Helped Stimulate The Economy."(Base: All Adults... % of Respondents)
Source: The Harris Poll, August 2008 (Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding.)
Response To Actual Expenditure Question: "How Much Money Did You Use For The Following Categories?"(Base: Received Payment; % Of Respondents Receiving Payment;; % Of Dollars Received; Compared to Anticipated Expenditures)
Will spend at least some of rebate (NET)
Did spend at least some of rebate (NET)
Indulged in a spa treatment
Invested in stocks or mutual funds
Paid down mortgage debt
Funded education for yourself or your family
Donated to charity
Spent on entertainment events or devices
Spent for technology devices (i.e. computer, TV, etc.)
Spent on restaurants or dining out
Spent on home improvements
Took a trip for leisure purposes
Spent on other things you have wanted to buy
Added to your cash savings
Reduced non-mortgage debt, paying off bills or credit cards
Source: The Harris Poll, August 2008 (Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding. Dollar amount recalculated as a percentage of overall dollars spent.)
For additional charts and more detail about the study, please visit Harris Interactive here.