Study says retailers could stand a little more sunny or snowy weather
According to a new university study, sunny and snowy conditions trigger consumers to visualize using products associated with the respective weather, which lead them to place a higher value on the items.
The mental simulation, however, was found to only work for sunshine and snow because these weather conditions have a positive association with outside activities.
“There are not many activities that are enabled by rain,” said JoAndrea Hoegg, study co-author and associate professor at from Vancouver’s UBC Sauder School of Business, in a statement. “Most products associated with the rain, such as raincoats and umbrellas, are just to protect oneself against the rain and not to enable activities.”
Prof. Hoegg said online retailers could benefit by incorporating local weather information into the algorithms that determine which products to feature and how those products are priced.
Past research offers different insights into how weather influences purchasing decisions:
- Research from Richrelevance found between a 10 to 12 percent increase in online orders for apparel and home/furniture on cloudy days versus sunny days;
- A study from professors at the University of Alberta and the University of Western Ontario found that exposure to sunlight improves consumers’ moods, to the extent that they were willing to pay 21 percent more for orange juice and 37 percent more for green tea;
- A study from Columbia University and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem found exposure to physical warmth “activates the concept of emotional warmth, eliciting positive reactions and increasing product valuation.”
A 2018 study from British Retail Consortium found nearly half of U.K. retailers say the weather is among the top three external drivers of demand. The impact is strongest during the summer to fall transition when warmer weather delays fall buying. According to the study, for each degree warmer from mid-August to early October over the previous year, growth in sales is reduced by 1.1 percent.
Mild winter hurt and helped some retailers during the holiday quarter. For instance, the weather led to soft portable heater and outerwear sales at Tractor Supply, but facilitated construction, boosting sales at Home Depot.
- Consumers value products more on sunny and snowy days but not when it rains – ScienceDaily
- What Happens With Online Shopping When It Rains? Linking Online Shopping To Weather And Exploring Drivers Of Noise In Sales Data – Richrelevance
- Study of Seattle consumers shows how weather influences online shopping – GeekWire
- The Effect of Weather on Consumer Spending – Elsevier
- Does the warmer weather really affect retail sales? – Fashion United
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are retailers overestimating or underestimating weather as a marketing and merchandising tool? Are adjustments based on weather feasible on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis?