Does the Temperature Affect Retail Sales?

17 May 2014, 17:02

Have you ever thought about how the temperature outdoors affects how well retail sales perform and what is sold most often? The more you think about it the more you’ll realise there is a direct correlation between the two.

A range of news articles from last summer saw a rise in sales through many retail areas when the good weather finally arrived. This included DIY related items and garden furniture, as well as a surge to buy summer clothing.

Similar trends can be seen in retail in terms of food as well. Salad experiences healthier sales when the weather is warm, as no one wants to cook much. Similarly barbecue food items sell strongly when the temperature rises, as everyone wants to go outdoors and make the most of the weather while it lasts.

But another area you may not have thought about concerns where people shop. Recent years have seen a steady increase in the amount of shopping people do online. Many bricks and mortar only stores have struggled in this new environment, but when the weather turns it seems they do better than online retailers.

When you think about it this makes perfect sense. When the sun shines and the temperatures rise, it becomes easier to find reasons to go outside and enjoy the weather. The last thing you want to do is to stay indoors and do your shopping online. This leads to a natural increase in sales in bricks and mortar outlets, while online retailers tend to suffer a bit. They still show strong sales but the balance does shift a bit.

However some experts think online retailers could make the most of a hot weather warning if they get on top of it in advance. Instead of waiting for the weather to arrive, sales promotions should be emailed to shoppers and promoted on websites prior to the temperatures rising. This encourages people to buy what they need and get it delivered in time for the hot weather.

You probably didn’t realise how closely related the two areas were. Most people enjoy warmer weather but the rise in temperatures drives what we do and what we spend more than we might think. Indeed some experts think retailers should be making use of weather information to drive their sales in the right direction. We’ve heard about stores selling umbrellas in the rain and so on, but there are so many other ways this could be replicated and used throughout retail if those in charge utilised the information more readily.

Whatever you decide to do when the next bout of hot weather hits, you might realise your decisions are based around what you decide to buy more than you originally thought. Will it be barbecues or umbrellas this coming summer?