E-Commerce and the Weather

It is common knowledge amongst retailers that the weather affects online sales. Both seasonal changes, as well as fluctuations in weather affect demand for consumer goods. In most cases, for stores that aren’t selling groceries, gas, shovels, or boots, blizzards are generally bad for business.

According to Adobe Digital Index data, the winter storms that hammered the Northeast in January last year were actually bad and resulted in a $35 million decrease in online sales. However, despite there being a decrease in sales there generally tends to be an increase in website traffic when temperatures decrease.

Of course, e-commerce businesses make use of the most of favorable weather conditions when they would expect to see a traffic and sales lift. A Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, analyzed temperature effect on online sales for 3 cities in France. The general findings showed as temperatures decreased, the number of consumers stayed indoors to shop online increased. However, each city reacted slightly differently to temperature change and purchase behavior. The data suggested that the impact of weather on online sales is geo-specific, and dependent on the weather patterns usually experienced within these locations, as well as attitudes and culture of those consumers.

These findings show that there is a general correlation between weather and online shopping habits. However, location of visitors and seasonality are also crucial factors that will come into play.

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