Ready, Set, Shop! Cold Temperatures to Drive Seasonal Purchasing
in the West.
Dry Conditions Support Traffic on the Coasts, Precipitation Strongest in the Interior.
It’s here! Thanksgiving and the Black Friday weekend represent the official start to the holiday shopping season. With many retailers electing to close this year on Thanksgiving Day, the Black Friday weekend is more important than ever for retailers looking to drive traffic and sales during some of the highest volume days of the year.
While fall thus far has trended warmer than last year and normal across many markets, ‘cold shots,’ especially during high traffic weekend periods, have served as a reminder that winter is right around the corner.
This weekend (November 20-22) will feature the coldest temperatures so far this season in the Midwest, Deep South, and East. The surge of cold air will jumpstart holiday purchasing. This is on the heels of a very active week that included blizzard conditions in Denver and severe weather across the Plains.
The outlook for next week (November 23-29) inclusive of Thanksgiving and the entire Black Friday weekend features
the coldest conditions across the western U.S. While the cold over the weekend will linger in the East to begin the week,
temperatures will trend back towards seasonal or warmer than normal by Thanksgiving Day. Cold temperatures filter back in for the close of the weekend. Anticipate warmest anomalies to be focused in the Deep South and Florida for much of the holiday weekend.
Weather-Driven Demand (WDD) vs. Normal:
November 22-28, 2015
Travel disruptions are expected to be limited leading up to Thanksgiving Day, although the opportunity for wet conditions, inclusive of wintry weather, exists throughout the Black Friday weekend across the Intermountain West, Plains, and Midwest. Shoppers on both the East and West Coasts will be treated to dry conditions for much of the holiday week.
Despite similar temperature readings on both coasts, buying behavior will differ by location over the holiday shopping weekend. The cold and dry conditions in the West will drive the strongest opportunities for year-over-year growth in both seasonal goods and foot traffic. Although warmer temperatures across the East may alter what consumers choose to put in their baskets, dry conditions will support traffic into retail locations.
This week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported that over 40% of all consumers had not yet started their holiday shopping. This year, Thanksgiving occurs on November 26th. Consumers will have 28 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is one more day than last year. The entire holiday season is expected to represent over $630.5B in consumer spending, which is a 3.7% increase over last year.
For reference, the run-up to Thanksgiving Day last year was filled with rain, sleet, and snow as a Nor’easter moved across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Thanksgiving Day trended warmest since 2012, wettest since 2010, and had its most snow since 1989. Black Friday was warmer than the prior year although colder than normal, which drove purchases of cold weather categories. According to the NRF, over 230 million consumers were in stores or shopped online over the holiday weekend. Black Friday remained the biggest shopping day of the weekend with approximately 87 million shoppers. Thanksgiving Day saw approximately 43 million shoppers.