Sunny weather plays havoc with the best-laid marketing plans

What a difference the sunshine makes. I guess that might depend on what you are selling, but in my experience the weather affects just about everything in some way.

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The problem with sunny weather is that unlike other seasonal challenges such as Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day, you never quite know when it is going to arrive or how long it is going to last for. It plays havoc with the best-laid marketing plans and is the bane of our supply chain and forecasting friends’ lives.

Anybody doubting the impact of the sunshine should look at their own purchasing behaviour in the past week. You will have probably embraced the barbecue for the first time this year, bought your first ice cream and drunk a great deal more fizzy pop. I even added ice to my rosé wine.

I’m not always that unhealthy, I promise. On the positive side, I did manage a lot more walking, ate a rabbit-esque intake of salad and drank lots of water.

Word in the drinks trade is that this has not been a great spring. When the sun doesn’t shine, the sales don’t sparkle. How relieved the industry must have been to finally see a ray of hope. I am sure that those selling ice cream will be feeling similarly pleased with this week’s lolly.

“Sunny weather plays havoc with the best-laid marketing plans and is the bane of our forecasting friends’ lives.”

I’ve always wondered what happens to curry sales when the temperature rises. Do sales plummet or is there no difference? Those in the know please do tell me about the Indian summer. I would imagine that sales of big bags of crisps benefit from al-fresco dining, whereas chocolate must be in meltdown. I would imagine high street retailers enjoy the sun, whereas those stuck in shopping malls wish it was raining.

Even if we had a crystal ball guaranteeing the weather, volume forecasting is destined never to be that easy. I have a friend who once worked for a posh ice cream company. Her sales were highest in December when people bought her brand as an accompaniment to their festive desserts. Summer was a relative disappointment.

Another friend of mine sells orange juice. He tells me that fruit juice sales are barely influenced by seasonality, whereas if you sell carbonates, then your entire annual bonus is in the hands of Mother Nature. I guess we all just hope that whatever else, this is selling season.

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