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Autumn in Italy Is Changing and So are Shopping Habits

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Italy has not been experiencing its typical autumn weather. For the past two years, weather has been hot and sunny into September and even October, and consumers are taking note (and adjusting their shopping behavior accordingly).

One of the industries that is more affected by this prolonged hot weather is textile and fashion. “People are wearing light garments until the beginning of November and then they decide to wait for Black Friday or even Christmas sales,” noted Patrizia Bolzoni, General Manager Sergio Tacchini, a company working in the apparel sector.

This trend is affecting the fashion industry and several companies are experiencing a decline in stock market value, such as Zalando and OVS—the leading Italian company in fast fashion.

“An evidence of this trend is OVS performance: it closed 7,69% under at Milan Stock Exchange, after HSBC cut their target price from 2.9 to 2€ with a ‘hold’ judgement.” HSBC also linked the more cautious position to the particularly warm weather in the third quarter.

Because of these changing shopper habits, fashion retailers are reassessing the kinds of clothes they sell and when they sell them: They are rethinking the design of the clothes, choosing lighter materials, or even researching smart materials designed to adjust to shifting temperatures, to push sales of garments suitable to warm weather.

However, not all industries are being negatively affected by this change of weather. Analysts speak about meteoropatic consumption to describe the rise in ice cream, shower gel, and mosquito repellent sales.

What can do retailers to address this change instead of enduring it?

First of all, they should consider including weather patterns in their data collection and give closer attention to the analysis.

Evidence shows that approximately one third of the retail sales are affected by weather conditions.

  • The IBM Global Business Services director of weather strategy, Paul Walsh, affirms that “at least 30 percent of what most retailers sell is tied directly back to the weather, the seasons. That’s a big chunk of their business. By using weather data and analytics to anticipate what customers are going to need, they’re better able to execute against that.”
  • An IRI researcher in a Mark-Up article sustains that “if we make 100 the total retail sales increment in 2017, we can say that 85% of that came from climate sensitive products, that is to say those categories which are extremely conditioned by the weather conditions.”

Moreover, retailers should learn to move more quickly if they want to exploit this trend. It is worthwhile, considering that, in terms of communication, retailers and producers could lean into weather to better frame their offerings. For example, Ferrero is airing a commercial that announces the return of its chocolate sprinkles that had been taken off the shelves at the beginning of the summer to ensure a high qualitative standard. To further celebrate its autumn return and amplify its echo, Ferrero sent a box containing the coming-back pralines to bloggers and influencers.

Whether the weather is blowing in your favor or not, it’s important to consider the role of weather in our business as it directly impacts shopper behavior. As an IBM weather specialist said, “this is not a 2070 issue. This is not a polar bear issue. This is a retailer issue.”

Contributed By:Paola Chiesa, Integer Milan

Image Source: Unsplash

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