Research shows that the back to school season is ripe with spending. In 2015 the average adult spent $630 on back to school items.

Like most spending trends, weather has an impact on consumer behavior. In fact, back to school is one of our busiest seasons. During this time our mobile properties experience a 13%+ boost in traffic, compared to yearly averages, as consumers are on the go planning for the beginning of school.

The summer 2016 forecast predicts warmer than average temperatures across most of the United States. In fact, temperatures will be far above average in the Northeast and most of the northern US, extending all the way to California. Even the southeast will see above average temperatures.

August’s sizzling hot temperatures, continuing the trend from June and July, will result in a drag in demand for early fall back to school merchandise; keeping summer stock top of mind for consumers. This will have a particularly strong impact on fall apparel as demand for cool weather clothes is pushed to the back of consumer mindsets. To accommodate this trend plan for an extended season of summer clothes shopping.

Apparel isn’t the only category that will be impacted by a warmer than average summer season.

  • Personal Care: Prolonged increased usage and occasions for skin cleansing, skin care and an extended stock-up for college students
  • Food/Bev: In addition to increased demand for hydration, ready to drink beverages and frozen snacking, brands will also begin reconfiguring presence at shelf with seasonal items and flavors
  • Home Care: Hotter temps breed more bacteria, stimulating higher demand for cleaning products, as well as continued high demand for fabric care due to increased laundry frequency

A hotter-than-average summer leading up to back to school season will have a myriad of effects on dining as well. We will see an increased demand for dining out, to avoid the heat generated by cooking at home – and also for guaranteed A/C. Take-out and catering will also experience sustained high demand as households choose to keep the stove off. Healthier, lighter items will be in particular demand, along with cold & frozen beverages and desserts.

Overall, the acutely hot end of summer 2016 will incent consumers to seek out easy solutions with lower effort. July and August temps will likely keep consumers indoors more than last year leading to increased online shopping. With a little extra effort consumers will still head to the stores to escape the heat and alleviate boredom although repeated back to school messages will be required to match historical sales boosts.

As the summer comes to an end be ready for a change. In September, consumers are in for a dramatic switch as temperatures drop off bringing relief from a scalding summer, and a cool welcome to the fall buying season. The change will help lift consumer optimism and spending.

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