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Summer Buying Behavior

Jul 25, 2018 | Blog

Tis the season for backyard barbecues, floppy sun hats, and poolside relaxation. But while everyone else is on vacation, marketers are working harder than ever to revamp their brand’s image. Though you might not be able to predict changes entirely, anticipating them in the weather can help forecast consumer trends.

So how exactly does a natural phenomenon play a role in the way people shop, and how can you adopt new advertising strategies to beat the heat of the summer (and the competition)? At the most basic level, what people buy in the summer is often a direct response to biological needs that result from an extreme shift in temperature. During the warmer months, people naturally want to cool down, meaning they crave a change in clothing, personal care, and food. While the prices of swimwear and sandals tend to rise as demand for these clothing items increase, other seasonal items, like boots, scarves and coats, are heavily discounted or removed from sales racks altogether.

During summer months, shoppers are also entering the market for items like sunscreen, moisturizers and hair care products. For example, lotions that target itchy, dry skin caused by cold weather will likely become less of a commodity as the temperature shifts and consumers look to purchase lightweight moisturizers infused with SPF. In the case of scented products like moisturizers, shampoos and perfumes, seasonal shifts play an even more crucial role in how they are marketed. Fragrances like peppermint, cinnamon and vanilla typically signal cooler months and are evocative of winter holidays, whereas floral and fruity scents conjure feelings of tropical excursions and warmth. This same principle applies to flavored products.

In addition to the changes in seasons they remind us of, flavors and scents can be reminiscent of the hobbies and experiences tied with them. Camping, for instance, is a year-round activity, and the same scents and flavors associated with it can be strategically marketed to appeal to different consumer groups. In May of last year, Nabisco announced a limited-edition run of S’mores Oreos. By pushing sales of this product just before Memorial Day weekend, Nabisco capitalized on summer camp nostalgia induced by the taste of this classic campfire treat. Conversely, Bath & Body Works released the “Campfire Donut” scented candle as part of their 2017 “Camp Winter” collection. In this case, Bath & Body Works took advantage of the cozy aspects of a campfire in order to take a s’mores-like product and repackage it for winter.

Similar to the way weather can determine our needs for physical comfort, it also acts as a social cue for the activities we take part in. However, in some cases, the two overlap, which is why the need to stay cool by wearing fewer layers of clothing in the summer is often simultaneous to the desire to get in better physical shape. Despite New Year’s resolutions bringing 12 percent of members to the gym in January, the summer months have their own set of marketing advantages, as the need for a “beach body” is more immediate.

A gym membership is an example of a service that can adapt to any season, but keep in mind that the definition of “summer month” differs depending on which part of the country you are marketing to. The average high can reach well into the 90’s in the Southwest, while low temperatures in Northeastern states begin dipping into the 40’s by mid-September. Because of this, the lifespan of certain seasonal products can be stretched longer in some places than others, but while you can still get away with wearing shorts during October in Arizona, not many people would rather light fireworks than carve pumpkins for Halloween.

Sinuate Media Tip

Make marketing adjustments based on regional weather patterns, but don’t let the temperature alone determine how your seasonal products are distributed. If you have a product or service that needs to adapt for the changing seasons, give us a call. We can help you take advantage of consumer buying patterns to sell more. You can reach us at 575-915-3837 or

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