Here comes summer!
Let us don our shortest shorts and fall over our flip flops in the rush to get to the beach. Ah but wait… We live in Ireland. So planning for summer is never as straightforward as those other countries, those far off lands where when it is summer temperatures increase and the sun actually shines.
The constant conversation in Ireland about the weather is not unfounded, it determines the happiness of families, the abundance of crops and so much more. So will it be a nice summer or will we be subjected to a rainy, windy torrent for the summer months? And how ever disappointing this is for the average Irish adult let us spare a thought for those who have children staring out at the rain and little ones inside going stir crazy. The other group to feel very sorry for is the marketers and brand managers who are at the mercy of mother nature and whether or not she will smile favourably on us this year. So when we are determining whether or not to purchase that ice cream in the rain, spare a thought for the brand manager whose 12 months previous planning may come asunder at the seams when the heavens open in June.
While there is the odd random day or two of endless sunshine, unfortunately, one sunny bank holiday does not a summer make. On that sunny bank holiday, as a nation, we cast our winter woollies asunder, fire up the rusty BBQ and stock up on our summer supply of cider, rosé and Pimms while clearing the local newsagent out of those ice creams that we have ignored for months. However, sales for one weekend are not going to fulfil the brand managers targets for the year.
As market researchers we have many tools at our disposal to predict different things, unfortunately the weather is one area we cannot predict. However, we do know how a poor summer can impact on our consumption habits.
While some of our purchases in the summer months may appear as small ticket items and unlikely to cause too much of an impact, in fact, a poor summer can have devastating effects on some companies C&C at the end of 2007, particularly in the UK, reported significant declines in revenue driven by the impact of the poor summer weather on their cider brands.
Some larger ticket items are also determined by the summer weather. Last year we enjoyed a fantastic heat wave during the summer. Nothing is nicer than holidaying in Ireland when the weather is good. Nothing is worse than being on a sun holiday when Ireland is experiencing a heat wave! Whether we need an autumn/winter trip abroad is often dictated by the weather the previous summer. The weather is also a key decision making factor on holidaying in Ireland and for how long.
When we hear the usual lilt of “A nice day, thank God” or “shocking weather altogether” as a nation we have a vested interest in how the summer weather performs as we are not one of those more predictable nations who have sun and in the summer we are a little bit less predictable. Of course as Chet Atkins once said “Once you become predictable no one’s interested anymore”.