Want to predict sales? Watch the weather forecast | The Time Traveller’s Dog on

lucy-1742184We are used to the idea that the weather influences consumer purchasing.  Umbrella sales rise in wet weather, for instance, ice cream sales shoot up when it’s hot.  But it seems this relationship may be much more complex than we previously imagined.

In warmer conditions, we are more willing to buy products across a range of categories, irrespective of whether they have any direct correlation with the weather at all.  We also appear willing to pay more for goods under the right climatic conditions, anything up to around 10% more in fact.  But why?

Research reported over on the Business2Community blog suggests that the cause of this increase in purchasing and willingness to accept a price premium lies in the psychological concept of “emotional warmth”.  At certain physical temperatures, consumers begin to feel more emotionally relaxed and comfortable, increasing the likelihood that a purchase will follow and/or that a price hike will be accepted.  The caveat, as we might expect, is that this only works up to a point.  If we get too warm, we feel uncomfortable and so purchase likelihood begins to diminish once more.  We may also become more bad-tempered, rejecting a price increase that we just now find irritating!

The optimal average temperature, it seems, is around 26C if a retailer wishes to increase sales – a temperature that also makes a price increase of up to 10.4% generally acceptable, at least to 9 out of 11 consumers.  So, the message is clear… if you are in the retail or service sector, don’t spend too much time/money on massive data sets, just follow the weather forecast and be guided by that!

For those in the UK, then, I’d recommend following Lucy Verasamy on Twitter to forecast tomorrow’s sales.  Ah, if only it were that simple…

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