Southern Europeans Spend to Cool Down; Different Demand Impacts Emerge in Rain-Sodden Northern Markets

Record-breaking temperatures have been making headlines this summer with the globe as a whole logging its hottest-ever months in June and July with much of the coverage focused on the heat domes impacting the American southwest and southern Europe.  Unsurprisingly, the conditions are having a huge influence on the activities people choose to pursue or avoid and on consumer purchasing decisions.

A Reuter’s article — Southern Europeans splash out on air-con as heatwave drags on — points to how the heat has driven demand for fans and air conditioners.

“In-built air-conditioning in homes is much less widespread in Europe than in the United States, making people reliant on more traditional ways of coping in the heat, like closing shutters and resting in the middle of the day. But data shows Italians and Spaniards are increasingly opting for more effective cooling solutions as summers get hotter. Italian consumer electronics retailer Unieuro, which has more than 500 shops across the country, said sales of air-conditioning products doubled in the week to July 21 compared to the same week last year. El Corte Inglés, one of Spain’s largest department store chains, said that by mid-July it had already sold 15% more units than it did last year by the end of August.”

Planalytics quantifies how much changes in the weather impacts demand for specific products and services to help retailers and other consumer-centric businesses understand how conditions affect sales and plan for upcoming shifts in purchasing patterns.  With weather sensitivities over 30% of total annual sales for both air conditioner and fan categories, it is easy to see how demand spikes and huge variances (week-to-week and year-over-year) register when the mercury rises. (Weather sensitivity measures how much changes in the weather alone — outside of normal seasonal sales trends — can swing sales, either positively or negatively, for a product in specific markets and time periods.)

Seeking relief from the scorching temperatures in June and July also led to categories including suncare, bottled water, beer, and salads commonly registering sales gains of 5% to 15% over normal in many European markets in certain weeks, according to Planalytics’ weather-driven demand calculations.  But not all markets…

As always, the weather and its consumer demand impacts are a regional story.  After all, what’s more local than the weather?  While much of Europe baked, the UK, Benelux, and Scandinavian were cooler and soaked with rain in July. This impacted overall footfall into stores (-2% to -5% weather-driven demand compared to normal) and outdoor venues and activities.

In fact, the dreary and cooler conditions had “pies and puddings are replacing burgers and bangers on the menu” according to an article entitled  How the damp summer weather has had a surprising impact on food sales. The article claimed that the “miserable summer weather has prompted many shoppers to turn to comfort foods to cheer themselves up and chase away the rainy weather blues” with comfort food categories benefiting. “Frozen Yorkshire pudding sales shot up by nearly 80% this month compared to the same time last year… Gravy sales rose 60% and pies 25%.”