The calendar says it’s officially fall, which means an increase in demand for Uggs, the PSL (otherwise known as Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte), and firewood for those chilly nights. Right? Not so fast – you may want to re-think that perception. Last October told quite a different story, creating a slow start to the season for many retailers.
October 2014 Review
October 2014 was warmest for the month in over 50 years, with warmer conditions focused throughout the western half of the country and the Northeast. Retailers that expected strong sell-through were disappointed as demand for many fall product categories was down overall due to warm temperatures which greatly limited seasonal purchasing. Cold shots over consecutive weekends, however, helped to redeem some sales. Clients who used WeatherSmart were able to identify the areas of opportunity for many fall products such as boots, hot coffee, and outerwear (highlighted below).
Weather and Planning for the Upcoming Season
Many businesses unknowingly make the mistake of using last year’s sales to plan for the upcoming season, and of running marketing campaigns on the same schedule as the prior year. The problem with this is that the weather only repeats about 15% of the time, which results in error-based plans. Deweatherizing your sales history strips out the weather volatility so you can plan more effectively from a weather-neutral baseline. In addition, using weather analytics to accurately plan advertising and marketing initiatives will ensure your message resonates at the right time.
Outlook for October 2015
Overall, this October will have greater opportunity than last year. Cooler conditions (vs. October 2014) will be focused in the West and the Northeast which will see the largest year-on-year variations. These regions are in line for the most significant lift in consumer demand for Fall/Winter apparel and accessories, hot foods and beverages, and other seasonal categories.
For an analysis specific to your business, please click here.