Does your business talk about the weather?

weather-driven sales and opportunitiesThere’s no getting away from it. The British are obsessed with the weather. It is the staple of ‘small talk’ and is analysed endlessly.

The weather influences so many things, from our mood to our social activities and pastimes. However, it’s not just our personal lives that are affected.

IRI’s recent Macroview on FMCG trends points out that keeping an eye on the weather may be more important than you think. Particularly when it comes to FMCG sales and capitalising on weather-driven opportunities.

Weather presents a number of challenges for manufacturers of consumer products. For food, beverage and other consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses, demand levels and sales can change in an instant as weather patterns shift.

The cold weather we are seeing in the UK now tends to boost certain products in the OTC market. The recent Macroview report from IRI illustrates this point, showing a 5.3% annual value sales growth in cold and flu decongestants to £11.8m year-on-year to 5th October 2013. 

The cold weather was also responsible for unusually high levels of hay-fever. Strange as the link may seem, there was a 50-year high in hay-fever incidence because the pollen is usually released in stages but this year the cold weather suppressed that activity meaning pollen released later was highly concentrated. 

Conversely, the heatwave we had in the summer, created real opportunities for those in the BBQ and drinks-related categories. IRI analysed the grocery sales data for the two-week period up to 20 July and found some big gains in beer and cider compared to the same period last year. With total sales of £132.8 million over those two weeks beer sales increased by 50%,contributing more additional revenue than any other product, an extra £44.5m. The hottest July for 6 years also resulted in high sales for sun preparations.

It is easy to make costly mistakes when weather is not factored into the marketing strategy. When weather takes an unexpected turn, many retailers and manufacturers are caught off guard and suffer the consequences of not having enough, or having too much, product in areas where these demand shifts are happening. However, it is possible, with weather-informed strategies to adjust production, distribution and marketing to either capitalise on opportunities created by favourable weather conditions or to mitigate the costs associated with unfavourable weather.

If you would like to find out how IRI can help you with econometric modelling please contact  Alternatively, if you would like to view the latest report on how the weather affects FMCG sales please visit the Resources Library on