LIVONIA, Mich., March 14, 2019: Valassis, a leader in activating consumers through intelligent media delivery, today released new research analyzing consumer behavior related to tax season. Stemming from a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents who expect to receive a tax refund in 2019, the findings note that more than half (53 percent) are anticipating receiving the same, or more, money this year.

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. 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. And, with holiday sales falling short of expectations in 2018, this provides a timely boon for retailers.

Twenty percent of shoppers are unsure of how they’ll use their refund, representing another key target for marketers. Research from RetailMeNot shows that 67 percent of consumers have made unplanned purchases solely based on finding a coupon or discount for an item, meaning retailers can be opportunistic, encouraging impulse buying. Brands can identify potential new and existing consumers based on their active browsing and researching history, and from there, connect them with product offerings based on this demonstrated in-market behavior and purchase intent.“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, Valassis. “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).

Additionally, consumers that are planning to save their tax returns still present a window of opportunity for retailers. While 40 percent are planning to put away a portion for an emergency fund, 19 percent would like to use it toward a home improvement project or furnishings; 15 percent for a vacation or experience; and 9 percent for a car purchase or general automotive maintenance. Having this spending intent data allows retailers to capture these delayed buyers with year-round advertising and promotions across print and digital channels.

For more insights regarding consumer behavior around tax season, visit

About the Survey
Valassis surveyed more than 1,000 consumers who expect to receive a tax refund in 2019. All respondents were located in the United States and were over the age of 18. The survey was conducted in February 2019.

About Valassis
Valassis helps thousands of local and national brands tap the potential of industry-leading data through intelligent media delivery – understanding, engaging and inspiring millions of consumers to action with smarter cross-channel campaigns. We’ve been a part of consumers’ lives for decades, introducing new ways to deliver offers and messages that activate them – whether via mail, digital or the newspaper. NCH Marketing Services, Inc. and Clipper Magazine are Valassis subsidiaries, and RetailMeNot Everyday™ is its consumer brand. Its signature Have You Seen Me?® program delivers hope to missing children and their familiesValassis and RetailMeNot are wholly owned subsidiaries of Harland Clarke Holdings.

Media Contact
Mary Broaddus
[email protected]
734 591-7375