Posts tagged ‘weather’
I love all the weather-related retail stories that come out whenever there’s the slightest sign of a heatwave in the UK. It’s a gift for PRs (who are probably sitting on a load of Royal Baby press releases they can’t send out yet) and a fun way to fill column inches for newspapers – and yes, even blogs.
The subject came up in a meeting with a Major Supermarket earlier this week, where they pointed that thanks to the hot weather they might be selling more barbeque food, summer clothing and paddling pools, but you win some you lose some because categories like DVDs suffer a drop in sales when we spend our evenings swanning round the garden instead of watching a DVD indoors.
So here’s the latest stats:
Amazon – year-on-year sales are up 816% for paddling pools, 519% for sprinklers and sprayers, 543% for patio chairs and loungers and 145% for sun skincare products
M&S – ice lolly sales up 300% year-on-year
More than four in 10 of us have had a barbecue so far this summer, compared with just three in 10 throughout the whole of last year.
Waitrose – 450 per cent leap in sales for barbecues, and a 316 per cent rise for Pimm’s.
Asda – barbeque sales up 204% in the last two weeks, charcoal and fuel up 176%, paddling pool sales up 446% and sales of garden furniture up 44%.
Experian said that in the first week of July footfall in Britain’s shopping streets and centres was down 8 per cent on the same period last year.
Most major online travel agents are reporting sales down by more than 20 per cent.
And of course, hot weather can be very dangerous for anyone who is frail, ill or doing something stupid like swimming in a quarry. Slip, slop, slap and stay safe.
I don’t know if this is a worldwide phenomenon, but a bit of sunshine seems to make us Brits ridiculously happy.
I worked my way through ten telephone interviews on Friday with middle aged, middle class ladies and they were, to a woman, full of optimism and the Joys of Summer.
Who knows what the election result might have been if the mini heatwave had hit a few weeks earlier?
One of the guys I work with was pulling together a quick ‘what’s on people’s minds right now’ presentation on Friday and it was mostly doom and gloom – we can’t merrily fly off all over the world at the drop of a hat anymore because we get Ash Clouded, the new government is a bit of a work-in-progress and the economy is still in the doldrums. But he concluded that the sun is shining!, so really, things could be a lot worse.
I feel like a bit of a failure for not celebrating this by having a BBQ this weekend, but judging by the stripped bare state of the shelves of my local convenience store, I was possibly the only person in the country NOT busy burning sausages on Saturday evening…
If nothing else, this country is good at adversity. We know exactly what to do – PANIC!
Admittedly, its rather cold and snowy at the moment (snowfall on 20 out of the last 23 days round here and minus 10 last night). But we Brits really know how to make a drama out of a crisis.
Yesterday, my local Co-op (a largeish convenience store) sold out of bread and eggs, the government is rationing salt for gritting and thousands of schools are still shut. To illustrate the media’s approach to the whole subject, I give you:
But there are some rather sweet side effects to all this extreme weather; the local Chinese takeaway have built a chef style snowman outside their front door, BJL and Cheetham Bell JWT had a snowball fight and today at work there was a long row of wellies neatly lined up by the back door, waiting for the journey home.
As for work? Well most client meetings have been cancelled, the office is freezing and we don’t really feel like the Christmas break has ended properly so it’s not exactly Productivity Central, but we’re going to keep trying to get in every morning, through sheer bloody mindedness if nothing else.
We’re not very good at dealing with snow in the UK. We just don’t normally get that much of it to make it worth seriously stockpiling grit, investing in snow chains or 4x4s or otherwise being prepared for inclement weather.
It’s snowed for 18 of the last 20 days here and we had another 4 inches of snow this morning. Since I own neither a 4×4 or a team of huskies and a sled, I’m snowed in (better than being snowed out like I was after the office xmas party…) and working remotely. So I chuckled when I read an all-users email that went round work today asking about good places to snowboard after work while a chum posted on facebook that he’d just watched his neighbour ski down the lane past his house.
With another week of the white stuff forecast (the Met Office are calling it an Extreme Weather Event), I don’t think I’m going to be seeing much of the office in the next few days. Which means I’m going to miss out on more fun like the agency snowball fight this lunchtime:
(thanks for the pic Craig)
Dear Potential New Client,
I will not be able to attend this morning’s meeting because my agency’s Company Car Scheme does not extend to include a team of husky dogs and a sled.
Upon reflection, it strikes me that my ranting about the weather actually leads on to a relevant point.
The web has obviously made responding to change much easier – for example my gardening client has pay per click campaigns queued up on google just waiting for the right weather conditions to arrive.
But its rare to see a DIY shed buying up the nearest 6 sheets as the first flakes of snow begin to fall to point out that they stock rock salt. Or a wet bank holiday weekend resulting in the local cinema taking out a more prominent ad in the local paper. Those media options would be ideal, but traditional media is too slow. You just can’t turn offline communications round fast enough. And that’s where online media will always win.
In the right hands, digital media can be truly reactive. Which I suppose begs the next question – will online media have to become a 24-7 operation to service this?
I know everyone thinks we Brits are obsessed with the weather, but we do have good reason.
First there was last Summer’s wash out, when an umbrella and wellies became essential fashion accessories.
Then last weekend Spring arrived. On the 9th of February to be exact (the middle of our winter for you Antipodeans).
It was about 12 degrees (in contrast to the normal 3 or 4) and I hacked my horse out across the moors without wearing a jacket.
It was like everyone had gone to bed on Friday night and overslept by two months.
There were 30 or 40 people sat outside the pub coat-less, drinking pints and looking slightly stunned. There was even a queue at the ice cream van. Elderly couples were taking their little dogs for walks across the moors and stopping to say to each other “well its such a lovely day, it would be a pity to waste it”.
It will probably snow next week now we’ve had this tantilising glimpse of sun, but I suppose (to paraphrase Forrest Gump) the British weather is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get.
To nick from Miranda Sawyer’s excellent book Park and Ride (where she reclaims her suburban roots and which you should all read), its been like living inside Tupperware up here recently, with grey skies the norm. We had one decent weekend in June (rather conveniently over my 30th birthday) and that’s been it as far as Summer is concerned.
Which has rather put a dampener on all these brand-supported Great-British-Summer-Activities we’ve been supposed to be enjoying courtesy of Innocent, Pimms and the rest. It might be glorious Down South, but up here in the North our bunting is getting soggy and so are our spirits.
Since traditional summer evening activities for me like walks, BBQs and long hacks on horseback are out (riding on the moors is more like bog snorkelling under current conditions), I’ve been spending a lot more time than usual in front of the telly. And with summer TV scheduling as dire as it is, I’m back in love with Amazon Rentals. Not because their customer service has got any better, but because of the sheer variety of stuff I’m discovering or enjoying again. Like Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, Hollywoodland, A Scanner Darkly and Wah-Wah. If you’re living in a similarly soggy situation and haven’t seen any of them, they’re really worth a rental.
I had a wardrobe clear-out recently and stuck some clothes up on ebay. The auction ended this Friday.
When the buyer details came through, I was surprised to see that three out of the five buyers came from Wales. And then I thought about the really snowy weather they’ve been having.
So my hypothesis is that the loads of people in Wales were snowed in and bored, so decided to get on the internet to entertain themselves – and ended up impulse buying on ebay.
I started wondering whether anyone has done any research into how the weather affects online behaviour? Then I googled and ended up at hitwise, finding their take on how the weather affects visits to the met office and BBC Weather. Nothing about ebay though…
The blogosphere was especially busy yesterday – presumably because everyone was stuck in their office unable to get home owing to the chaos caused by the weather.
I didn’t join in because I spent a fabulous six and a half hours trying to get Down South for a new business meeting, dodging flying branches and tipped lorries on the way. I arrived safe & sound, but what with the five hour journey back Up North tonight, I’ve had quite enough of motorways for a while.