Photo courtesy of Southernpixel
When I was a freshman in college I worked a variety of retail jobs at the local mall. I worked at GNC Nutrition for a while, and then a shoe store, and then an athletic apparel store. At all three jobs I had to report the local weather back to the home office at closing.
At the time, it didn’t really occur to me that there was a correlation between the weather and sales. Now I realize that weather does in fact have an effect on spending, both on a personal level and on a larger regional level. Weather impacts both shopping patterns and the types of products that we buy.
Of course, businesses are well aware of these pattens and that is why home improvement stores push things like generators, batteries and flashlights in South Florida during the peak of the hurricane season. Stores in the northeast might carry similar items to prepare for winter storms.
How Does Weather Affect Our Personal Shopping Habits?
Are you a die hard shopper – the kind that would brave the elements to catch a great sale, or risk life and limb to pick up an iPhone the day it comes out? I suspect many of you are not, but you probably know someone that fits the description. It doesn’t take much to discourage me shopping because I generally hate to shop. I don’t like crowds, I don’t like lines, and I especially don’t like wandering the aisles while falling prey to every well-placed, eye-catching display promoting a new product.
I have noticed that stores seem a little less crowded on both particularly nice days, and particularly bad days. Maybe most people reserve shopping for those ho-hum days. You know, overcast with a threat of sprinkles and an almost bothersome cool breeze.
Maybe our shopping patterns have more to do with our overall mood rather than the weather, but since the weather impacts our mood I guess there is still a correlation. I know some people who are absolutely morose if the sun isn’t shining. Me? I actually prefer cool, rainy days (should have been born in Seattle). And when people feel gloomy they often go shopping to lift their spirits. When they are happy they go shopping to celebrate. And when they are bored they go shopping to give them something to do to hopefully make them happy. All symptoms of being an emotional shopper.
Not sure where I’m going with all this, but it started as a random thought on a recent lunch break when I watched people scurrying into a Target store, dodging heavy raindrops all the way. Those same people reappeared in a few minutes with a tiny bag and soaked clothes, and spent the next several minutes adjusting their hair in the rear-view mirror.
I couldn’t help but wonder what they had purchased, and why it couldn’t wait until after the severe thunderstorm rolled through that day. Hey, at least they were stimulating the economy! Meanwhile, I was camped out in my truck listening to Dave Ramsey and eating a sack lunch. Just the way I like it.