Posted: Friday 4th August 2017 in Analytics and tracking, Retail Strategy, Thought Leadership.

– UK hot weather drives 200% increase in Fitbit searches
– Demand for beer at its highest point in five years
– Heatwave doubles searches for fishing equipment

The UK summer has officially arrived, albeit with the caveat that a British Summer is typically cloudy, and quite unpredictable. With temperatures reaching a peak of 34.5 degrees in the last few weeks, the hot weather tipped the scales in favour of retailers, as consumers rushed to purchase those summer essentials. Psychologically speaking, we know that a heatwave can have an interesting effect on consumer behaviour. People struggle to sleep through the sweltering heat and spend more time outdoors on evenings and weekends.

 

Justin Opie, Managing Director at IMRG, said: “The great British weather has always been among the most determining factors when it comes to shopper behaviour. Marketing plans can be assiduously planned and beautifully executed, only to fall flat because it’s pouring with rain in July or warm in November. That we have such changeable weather in the UK can be a source of considerable frustration then, but it can be turned to advantage where retailers are set up to have sufficient agility built-in to their strategies to enable them to merchandise with weather patterns in mind. It is not the only factor, either – other external events may also influence what people are interested in at a given time, such as festivals, sports events or major TV programmes. Giving consideration to appropriate elements such as these can greatly enhance the customer experience.”

 

 

 

It comes as no surprise that Argos, the UK’s leading digital retailer sold a staggering 92000 fans, and enough paddling pools to hold over 70 million litres of water during the June heatwave. When the temperature rose to 33 degrees, “water guns” saw an increase in demand of 310% compared to the previous month. Whilst demand for “beer”, a product typically influenced by hot weather, was at its highest point for the first time in five years (likely driven by the rapid rise of craft beer). Retailers need to factor temperature changes into their marketing strategy to capitalize on the next heat driven shopping frenzy. Forecaster, Summit’s marketing intelligence platform, revealed the following consumer trends during the recent temperature increase:

 

  • Feel the burn: Fitbit searches saw a 200% increase in demand as people rushed to get Summer ready.
  • Festival essentials or staycation?: Camping search terms increased by 86%, driving the biggest increase in demand in 9 years.
  • Strike a pose: Demand for DSLR cameras increased by 39%, despite the general market decline trend.
  • Blast away: Nerf gun demand increased by 41% compared to the previous week, supporting the retail trend for outdoor games.
  • Hook, line and sinker: Searches for fishing equipment more than doubled last month with a 193% increase.

 

Bryan Roberts, Global Insight Director at TCC Global, said: “Weather is clearly a very impactful variable for all retailers and has been blamed for retailers’ problems since the very dawn of the industry. As something that is outside a retailer’s control, preparedness is key and the data and insights such as those provided by Summit can make or break a retailer’s seasonal performance. The data also shows us that weather patterns can affect much more than the obvious categories and that the weather’s impact on demand can often be anticipatory as well as immediate.”

 

 

Figures from the monthly monitor by the British Retail Consortium and Springboard revealed high street footfall rose by 0.9%, while footfall in retail parks increased by 2.3%. The increase demonstrates how even a relatively small temperature change can play a significant role in a person’s decision making process. Being able to predict the impact the weather will have on consumer behaviour can be the key difference between a product selling out, or a marketing campaign going bust. Retailers should be utilising the full breadth and richness of data available to them to drive real impact on customer lifetime value, and brand affinity.

According to Ben Latham, Director of Digital Strategy at Summit: “It’s not difficult for retailers to understand that when it gets hot you are likely to sell more fans. However, the real winners are retailers who are using data science and predictive analytics to understand the causal relationship between customer demand and weather. By understanding how these elements connect, you can predict when demand will spike and the impact it will have on conversion rates and sales.”

 

Forecaster is a multi-channel performance marketing platform, designed and built by Summit. Using predictive analytics, Forecaster is able to tell retailers and brands exactly how much, where and when to spend their online marketing budget across PPC, PLAs and Display. By analysing these channels, learning from the market and studying how customers behave, it makes accurate decisions about where and when to invest a performance marketing budget to make the greatest profit.

 

Sources:

  • Source: “Argos Customers are cooling down and making the most of the heatwave in the garden”, 20 June 2017 https://www.about.sainsburys.co.uk/news/latest-news/2017/20-06-17-argos-weather
  • Summit Forecaster data for 19th June 2017 versus 12the June 2017 for Fitbit
  • Summit Forecaster data from Friday 16th– Sunday 18th June 2017 for camping
  • Summit Forecaster data for DSLR cameras 16th June -23rd June 2017, versus the same period in 2016
  • Summit Forecaster data comparing 18 June 2017 to 11 June 2017 for nerf guns
  • Summit Forecaster data for June 2017 versus May 2017 for fishing
  • Google trend data for the search term “beer” for the period 17 June 2012 – 20 June 2017
  • Google trend data for 18 June 2017 versus 11 June 2017 for the search term “water gun”
  • Source: “High street footfall warmed by Summer sun in June”, 17 July 2017, https://brc.org.uk/news/2017/high-street-footfall-warmed-by-summer-sun-in-june

 


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