The weather influence on consumers in fall, as in spring, is incredibly impactful.
Seasonal transitions drive completely new outlooks for people — optimism is high, perspectives have changed and folks are motivated to move on with the new season. That means new outfits, looking forward to the fall holidays and even preparing for winter.
Consumer mindsets in fall are shaped by relatively cool and sunny conditions which leave them feeling optimistic, energetic, feeling loved, content and happy. It’s a great time of year.
Effective messaging includes:
- Trying new things
- Being active
- Being social
- Doing something spontaneous
And of course those mindsets are reinforced and the messages more effective if a relatively cool fall follows a stretch of late summer heat.
Which is exactly what is setting up to happen.
Last Year’s Weather is Key
For planning and predictive purposes, understanding last year is absolutely critical.
We can’t know for sure at this point exactly what the weather will be like in September or (especially) October, but we do know for sure exactly what happened last year and exactly how that influenced our customers and our businesses.
Going into this fall, last year’s weather is generally the best predictor (at these leadtimes) of how consumer behavior will be shaped differently this year.
And for this fall, the fact that we are up against the third warmest October on record is a key “tell” as it relates to consumer demand and sentiment for the upcoming buying season.
More than ever, we buy seasonal products when we need them, not based on an arbitrary calendar date.
If it feels like summer in fall, we don’t buy fall products. Period
That impact was reflected in retail sales last October and most particularly in Department Stores where sales fell 0.3% and were down 3.5% from 2013.
While for some businesses the mild weather in October was beneficial, for key seasonal categories (like apparel) it was a brutal and costly month.
So on a comparative basis, the bar is set pretty low for sales of seasonal items this fall.
This means smart marketers are in a great position to help their companies boost sales and, most importantly, grow share by putting in place and executing against a weather marketing strategy.
Here’s the great news for retail marketers: this fall (especially October) I’m expecting much cooler and more seasonally appropriate temperatures than 2014.
That means demand for fall apparel, seasonal consumables like coffee and soups, and even early winter items will be up sharply as compared to last year.
See: The “Snowblower Effect“
It also means the positive emotional break to fall will happen earlier and stronger than 2014, which ultimately will bring more foot traffic from more energetic and (due to continued low gas prices and higher 401k’s) more confident shoppers.
So as it relates to your fall marketing efforts?
The Four Things You Need to Know
- Fall will break earlier this year
- Demand for seasonal items will be much stronger than 2014
- Fall mindsets and consumer confidence will be significantly more positive
- Weather / product triggered advertising will be particularly effective and should be a key part of your weather marketing strategy
Embedded below is a handy research deck put together by the National Retail Federation as well as a copy of my appearance on The Weather Channel where I discuss fall retail and weather.
The 2015 National Retail Federation Back-to-School Cheat Sheet
My Fall Outlook on The Weather Channel
If you have any questions regarding putting in place a weather marketing strategy or if you have questions for me, you can contact us HERE or give us a call at 855.782.5268.