Food & Drink

The weather affects what you buy, and supermarkets know all your secrets

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Gary Ogden
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The weather directly correlates to what we purchase at the supermarket – of course you already knew this – when it’s cold we buy more hot chocolate and when it’s hot we buy more ice lollies, duh. 

But it’s actually a lot more specific than that. Changes of only five degrees can alter the way we purchase goods, and supermarkets are all over it – they’re predicting our behavior. We’re like a bunch of hot and cold lab rats.

Alex Rutter, managing director EMEA of The Weather Company, told Metro:

“People are most likely to buy soup between 4C and 6.5C. If it’s colder than that, people look for roasting joints, if it’s warmer than that, people think of soup less.”

The temperature change also applies to online shopping, with a study finding that people are 46% more likely to stump up the cash for that new ironing board when it was 25°C instead of 20°C. Additionally, if it’s hotter then you’re richer – or at least you think you are: you’re 36% more likely to pay a higher price for the same - I don’t know - garden gnome, when it’s nicer outside. This is presumably because good weather is more likely to make people feel happier and more optimistic.

Of course, online shopping as a whole increases when it’s shit weather too, because people can’t be arsed to traipse down Morrisons if they’re going to get drenched. 

Then there’s the weirder side of things – the unexplained mysteries of local climate change. Alex Rutter’s back with his facts:

“Humidity is the deciding factor on how likely it is that shoppers buy raspberries. We honestly don’t know why but we know that it happens.”

I started writing a joke about raspberries being alien eggs or something but I scrapped it because I really cannot think of any connection between raspberries and humidity, even if I make one up. Rutter adds:

“If we know if a storm is unpredictable, people will buy more goods and services that’ll give them shelter. If people know it’s going to happen a few days in advance, the sale of beer and soda goes up so shoppers [have] obviously got their priorities in order.”

I can get on board with that. Buy beer when there’s going to be a storm. I mean, buy it when there isn’t going to be one, too, but still.

What do supermarkets do with this info, though? Well, promotions and prices are certainly affected – a Coca-Cola vending machine was even discovered to change its prices based on the temperature recently. It’s all very calculated and sneaky.

Which is why next time it’s really really dry and cold I’m going to buy £10,000 worth of raspberries to really fuck up my local supermarket’s data. That’ll teach them for subliminally making me buy things!

Anyway, I’m off to buy some tampons for some reason. See ya in a bit.

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", PDAs, not having eczema anymore, hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the eczema thing though. @garyblogden

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