February 2019 was one of the hottest and driest on UK record, and the impact on businesses has been amazing. According to retail giant John Lewis, they saw a 13% increase in sales of swimwear, sunglasses and shorts. In addition, grocery store Sainsbury’s found there was a significant increase in the sales of rose wine.

But how does the weather impact the buying behaviours of customers? 

1. Cold weather seems to freeze sales

When it gets really cold, people tend to stay indoors which can really make a difference in footfall in retail locations, lowering sales in brick and mortar shops. This was seen in 2018, when the Beast from the East caused consumer anxiety, hindering sales on the high street.

Cold weather isn’t the only problem. When it is raining, shoppers are less likely to travel to the high street, putting a dampener on retail sales. This is especially true if there is a rainy June or July as consumers are less inclined to invest in new summer wardrobes, instead preferring to stick with their winter and spring clothes which they can carry through to the next winter.

2. Hot weather improves sales

When it comes to increasing sales, there is nothing better than a hot period. February is a classic example of warm weather positively impacting consumer spending. Another example was during the 2018 World Cup when the weather was hot and consumers spent a lot of money on products to enjoy the outdoors, including barbecues and paddling pools.

There is a psychological aspect to this. Warm weather tends to improve consumer moods, and when people are happier, they tend to be more open to spending money.

3. Warnings can provoke panic buying

The other impact that the weather can have on consumer spending behaviour is when it relates to panic buying. When people are told in advance that there is going to be bad weather or very good weather, they tend to bulk buy items they need in order to prevent them from missing out. This can include items such as clothing, furniture and food.

When news is unexpected, however, panic buying can result in some shops running out of stock, though often only temporarily. And when products run out, panic buying is often accentuated. This is very much what used to happen with toy sales at Christmas, with must-have toys often being snapped up weeks before the festive period. Nowadays, retailers have become better at ensuring a steady supply of items.

Being alert to these trends, retail executive leaders can determine and take advantage of seasonal changes in the weather to forecast their performance more accurately. To find out more, speak to us at Anthony Gregg today.