March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers. If the groundhog sees his shadow, it means 6 more weeks of winter. While these old wives tales may seem ridiculous to some, (these people probably live in San Diego, which was voted best weather in the U.S.) the weather has a huge influence on consumer behavior, and the effects are much more extensive than the obvious rain boot and snow shovel examples. Weather affects consumers’ mood, which influences impulsive buying behavior and dictates where they purchase, what they purchase, and how much they are willing to spend.
BUYING METHOD Not surprisingly, inclement weather keeps people at home, thus hurting brick-and-mortar stores’ traffic, which is a gain for online retailers. One study found that cold or rainy days boost traffic to clothing, home, furniture and wholesale retailers by 12% compared to warm or sunny days. Conversely, on warm and sunny days, brick-and-mortar stores do more sales.
PURCHASE PRICE Whether it’s sunshine, temperature, rain or snow, weather influences consumers’ moods. A Canadian study revealed that exposure to sunlight dramatically increased levels of consumption, as well as the amount spent per item. The research showed consumers were willing to pay 37% more for green tea and 56% more for a gym membership after being exposed to sunlight. In cloudy conditions, consumers are more likely to spend more on alcohol, tobacco, and coffee.
PRODUCT DEMAND Weather prompts sales of certain products. Aside from the obvious seasonal sales of swimwear and sunblock during the summer and coats and boots in the winter, there are other products that get more attention when the weather changes. According to a study, when temperatures hit about 65 degrees in the U.K., grocery stores see a 22% increase in the sales of carbonated drinks and a 20% decrease in juice sales. In the U.S., a one-degree drop in temperature can trigger sales of soup, oatmeal and lip balm.
USE THE WEATHER Rain or shine, it’s clear that the weather can make a difference when it comes to generating revenue, and smart companies are using this knowledge to their advantage. Pantene is one such company; by teaming up with the Weather Channel to create a campaign around products geared towards frizzy hair during humid days, they saw a sales increase of 24%.
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