Online sales tend to benefit from rainy and windy conditions, although the impact can be positive or negative depending on the geography, according to a new Adobe study.
Combining Adobe Analytics’ analysis of website transactions with weather data from IBM’s The Weather Company, the study predicts weather will boost U.S. e-commerce sales by $13.5 billion in 2023. The most significant impact comes from rain, $8.7 billion; wind, $4.4 billion; and snow, $250 million.
Each weather event impacts shoppers in different ways:
Rain: The effect of rainfall on e-commerce peaks when consumers experience between 0.8 and one inch of rain. Once rain reaches this level, online spending is boosted by 4.4 percent. The rain payback nearly doubles on weekends and has the most significant seasonal impact in the fall.
Wind: Online sales grow 3.5 percent when the wind hits 15 to 20 miles per hour (mph). E-commerce activity increases only 2.3 percent when the wind whips up in the 20-to-25 mph range. Sales fall 6.7 percent when wind speed tops 25 mph as consumers became distracted.
The effects also greatly depend on whether the area is accustomed to strong winds. For instance, once wind speeds surpass 30 percent, e-commerce sales tumble 90 percent in Atlanta but increase six percent in Chicago.
Snow: Snowfall’s e-commerce impact likewise varies considerably by region. Cities where snowfall is common, such as New York City and Seattle, find a boost with snow’s arrival, but a minor snowfall in cities such as Austin and Charlotte becomes a distracting event that causes e-commerce activity to drop.
A white paper, “5 Myths About The Weather’s Impact On Retail,” from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Planalytics, found “extreme events, as well as simple day-to-day changes in weather” can drive spikes in website traffic. Planalytics also found that the effect of temperature and precipitation on retail sales differs significantly by region.
Evan Gold, EVP of global partnerships and alliances, Planalytics, told NRF in a recent blog entry, “It’s different not only for every product, but it’s different by time period and location.”
How weather affects shopping and retail – National Retail Federation