Sizzling or stormy: which summer weather is best for the retail industry?

by ShopperTrak on 06-01-15

Summer is fast approaching, and retail stores and shopping centres are busy preparing their outlets for the change in season.

But in amongst the stock changes and new promotions, there is one significant sales influencer that they can’t legislate against: the weather.

Temperature is something that can significantly alter shopper habits. As the prospect of warm weather approaches, both stores and shopping centres are all hoping that consumers will rush to them to help take advantage of the sunny skies – stocking up on items such as light clothing and sun cream, or decide to spend the lighter evenings enjoying a spot of retail therapy.

It may come as a surprise, then, that there is an inverse relationship between footfall and sunshine across the globe; consumer traffic decreases as the weather warms up. A survey of summer footfall in the  UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Poland, China and India by FootFall all saw footfall dip with high temperatures – with Poland performing the worst during such times.

Contrastingly, rainfall can actually work to the retail sector’s advantage, driving consumer traffic to stores and shopping centres as a means of relieving wet weather boredom. Across all the regions we surveyed, summer precipitation led to a general increase in footfall in 2014. Retail parks were the only exception, seeing no change in footfall during such times – perhaps due their uncovered, out-of-town location.

Although no retailer can control the weather, there are certainly measures they can take to optimise profits as conditions change. Forecasts provide a solid outline of what stores and shopping centres can can expect over the week to come – their challenge is to draw accurate correlations between business footfall levels and what’s going on in the skies.

The only way to do this is through retail intelligence. Retail organisations with a people counting solution such as FootFall’s Site Analytics in place will be able to look back at past data to see how their outlet performed during periods of similar weather in the past – and react quickly to these figures, in order to make the necessary operational changes for maximising consumer activity.

In the meantime, retailers and shopping centres might want to start preparing a raindance for the summer weeks ahead.

Read more posts by ShopperTrak