Despite what the calendar (and the position of the planet) says, consumers are no longer compelled to begin behaving as if it’s fall …  if doesn’t feel like fall.

 

This is a continued reflection of the buy now, use now environment of today’s consumer and it’s yet another reason the impact of weather and, especially, the weather forecast is so critical to understanding (and predicting) shopping behavior.

The survey — conducted on weather.com by Anne Simons, Manager of Cross Platform Research for The Weather Company — included 6,586 respondents.

The results are not weighted and the statistical significance, where noted, is at a 90% confidence level.

IS IT FALL YET?

Well, maybe not.  At least from a consumers perspective.

The start of fall is less about the calendar and more about the temperature according to a Forecast Factor survey of weather.com users conducted September 11-September 16, 2015

While temperatures less than 60 degrees represented the national temperature most associated  with fall ‘sweater weather’ (19%), the key finding for marketers is the ‘localness” of the impact.  The specific sweater weather / fall trigger temperature is completely local and sweater weather thresholds vary significantly by region, state and metro area.

KEY RESULTS

As noted, among the total sample, 60° was the most commonly cited temperature for sweater weather, by 19% of respondents.

59% of respondents deemed sweater weather to be between 55° and 65°

50°: 13% of sample

55°: 14% of sample

60°: 19% of sample

65°: 14% of sample

70°: 5% of sample

Region

Median temps at which weather.com users say fall weather becomes cool enough to don a sweater varied over a seven degree range, from 55° in the Northern Rockies and Plains to 62° in the West.

Sixty degrees is the temperature cited as sweater weather in seven regions, with 50° and 55° cited in the Northern Rockies and Plains, and the Northwest.  

State

Median temps varied across a 40 degree range, but 60° is the most common median temp, appearing for 22 states.

In our Summer ‘How Hot is Too Hot’ survey, Arizona and Nevada* had the highest tolerance for Summer heat at 100° but in our Fall survey Arizonans and Nevadans are the quickest to reach for a sweater at 65°.

South Dakotans were among those having the lowest tolerance for Summer heat at 85°, but redeemed themselves by holding off the longest before reaching for a sweater at a chilly 51°.

Alaska and Hawaii were not included in the analysis.

Metro Area

One-third (34%) of the 200 metro areas sampled registered a median temp of 60° as ideal sweater weather, including New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Chicago.

Among metro areas surveyed, Tampa St. Pete respondents have the least tolerance for cool fall temps, reaching for a sweater at 65°. Minneapolis St. Paul, Pittsburgh, and Seattle can tough it out to a median temp of 55°.

In our summer survey of hot temps, Phoenix participants displayed the highest tolerance for Summer heat with a median temp of 103°, and in this survey, registered one of the highest median temps for sweater weather at 63°

Gender

There is a slight, statistically significant difference in mean temp for men (58°) versus mean temp for women (60°)

Age

There is no statistically significant difference in sweater weather between age groups.

Fall Brings a Decreased Appetite for Healthy Foods and Healthy Living

Mirroring results from previous TWC studies, fall weather signals a decreased appetite for preparing and consuming healthy foods:

  • Thirty-two percent of weather.com users experiencing summer temperatures say they are interested in eating or preparing more healthy, nutritious meals, compared to just 22% of those experiencing fall temperatures.

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Crisp temperatures also cool interest in getting in better shape or managing one’s weight:

  • 34% of respondents say fall temperatures inspire them to get in better shape and increase physical activity, versus  49% of those who perceived summer-like conditions.
  • Twenty two percent of weather.com users experiencing summer temps said they were thinking about beginning a weight management program, versus 13% of those experiencing Fall temps.

Not surprisingly, those experiencing fall weather were nearly twice as likely as summer weather.com users to purchase Fall clothing and accessories, 29% versus 14%.

Survey results also show that consumer behaviors were directly influenced by the current (and forecast) weather perceptions as temperatures across most of the country went from unseasonably warm, to cool, and back to unseasonably warm.

ADVERTISER ADVISORY

  • While some seasonal consumer behaviors are driven by the calendar, (back to school shopping for example), other consumer behaviors, such as those noted in the survey, are  linked more closely to perceptions driven by local weather conditions.
  • Shifts in weather perception can occur multiple times during a seasonal transition period, bringing about parallel shifts in consumer behavior.
  • Leverage fluctuations in weather-driven demand  by incorporating real-time, location-based weather intelligence to monitor transitional consumer behavior. and avoid basing marketing strategy solely on calendar timing.

Weather.com predicts a continued warm September through the end of the month.  

This reinforces our expectation of a sharp start to fall buying in October due to:

Utilizing weather intelligence to identify and understand consumer behavior linked to local weather perceptions will help marketers maximize business opportunities.

If you’d like to get a copy of the full results from the survey drop us a note HERE.

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