The last Monday of May, Americans honor those who died while serving in the armed forces. For most, it’s a day to pay tribute but also the unofficial start of summer. It marks a transition in spending habits and harkens the sharp rise in demand for “summer” attire, healthcare products and recreational activities.
Although Memorial Day is just around the corner for many, including those in the northeast, cooler temperatures against the backdrop of a fairly mild winter, has made it feel more like fall than spring. Long sleeves, closed-toe shoes and a demand for warm beverages have persisted this spring. But don’t get used to it. Businesses should brace for a rapid change.
Summer is going to be a hot one. In fact, the summer forecast calls for the warmest summer since 2012 across most of the country.
The hot temperatures will generally slow down consumers who will be looking for easy solutions from lower effort activities. An effect we call “cocooning”. As a result, we’ll see:
o Increased demand for summer apparel
o Outdoor consumables will see a boost in demand, as will healthcare products such as sunscreen and bug spray
o Air conditioned venues will be extra attractive
o Consumers will also clamor for cold beverages, frozen treats and other refreshing foods and beverages
o Vacation travel will be strong as low oil prices and warmer than normal weather spurs people to the beach
Businesses that plan ahead to match forecasted consumer behavior will be the big winners. Preparation should include:
o Don’t wait for the warmth to kick into high gear. Be ready to jump in as soon as the initial warmth lures consumers into that “summer feeling” by stocking shelves and running promotions aligned to the summer forecast. By letting customers know you are their go-to source to beat the heat, they will turn first to you to get a reprieve when the temperature rises.
o Despite a hot summer, there will be periodic breaks in the warmth. On those days consumers will be prime to spend a little extra cash, take the long way home and generally enjoy being outdoors. Take advantage of cooler snaps by watching short-term weather forecasts and aligning promotions and communications to maximize the pick me up mother nature is sharing as they won’t last long. This is especially important for outdoor entertainment venues like amusement parks.
o Make your stores & restaurants a welcome retreat from blistering temperatures. Theme days, group discounts and other surprise incentives will keep your customers coming for A/C and staying for the best you have to offer.
With the right planning and weather monitoring this hot summer can be your ticket to high profits.