How market research can help you navigate seasonal buying

As we prepare for the onset of another winter in the southern hemisphere, brands should also be prepping for changes in consumer behaviour.

There have been numerous studies on the affect of weather on our moods (existence of wintertime depression, known as “Seasonal Affective Disorder“), memory, concentration, and behaviour – as well as strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that weather affects consumer decision making. Not only does it affect what we buy, but it also influences how we buy – with evidence of greater online shopping in winter/wet weather than warmer weather, as well as what we are willing to pay for certain items and services.

In a study conducted in 2010 titled The Affect of Weather on Consumer Spending found that weather does indeed affect how we spend money.

The paper states:

“We find that temperature, humidity, snow fall, and, especially sunlight, can affect retail sales. In addition, the panel data replicate the general result of previous research, which found that sunlight affects mood (Cunningham, 1979; Parrott and Sabini, 1990; Schwarz and Clore, 1983), while simultaneously demonstrating that reductions in negative affect are associated with higher levels of consumption and spending. Also, we found a causal effect of sunlight on willingness to pay and demonstrated that the effect was mediated by negative affect.”

Sales and revenue naturally ebb and flow throughout the year, but the use of data-driven research can help those savvy businesses to predict when the next flow will be. Taking a data-driven approach to seasonal marketing allows brands to capitalise on key sales periods by targeting the right audience with the right product at the right time.

Market research is an invaluable tool for tracking seasonal spending patterns, allowing businesses to optimise their strategies and maximise sales during peak periods. Here’s how market research can help:

1. Identifying Trends and Patterns

Market research helps businesses identify and understand seasonal trends and spending patterns. By analysing past data, businesses can predict when consumers are likely to spend more, what they are likely to buy, and which demographics are driving these trends.

2. Customer Behaviour Analysis

Understanding customer behaviour during different seasons is crucial. Market research can provide insights into:

  • Purchase Triggers: What motivates customers to spend more during certain seasons (e.g., holidays, back-to-school, summer vacations)?
  • Preferences: What types of products or services are more popular during specific times of the year?
  • Buying Channels: Whether customers prefer online shopping, in-store purchases, or a mix of both during peak seasons.

3. Competitive Analysis

Market research allows businesses to monitor competitors’ activities and strategies during peak seasons. This includes promotions, pricing strategies, product launches, and marketing campaigns. Understanding what competitors are doing can help businesses differentiate themselves and capture a larger market share.

4. Demand Forecasting

Accurate demand forecasting is essential for managing inventory and resources. Market research provides data that helps businesses anticipate demand spikes and adjust their inventory accordingly. This prevents stockouts or overstock situations, ensuring optimal stock levels and reducing costs.

5. Effective Marketing Strategies

Tailoring marketing strategies to align with seasonal trends is key to capturing consumer attention. Market research helps in:

  • Segmenting the Market: Identifying target customer segments most likely to respond to seasonal promotions.
  • Personalised Campaigns: Creating targeted marketing campaigns based on the preferences and behaviours of different customer segments.
  • Timing: Determining the best times to launch marketing campaigns for maximum impact.

6. Product Development and Merchandising

Insights from market research can guide product development and merchandising strategies. Businesses can introduce new products or adjust existing ones to meet seasonal demands. For example, a clothing retailer might focus on swimwear and summer accessories during spring and summer, while promoting coats and holiday-themed products in the winter.

7. Customer Feedback and Sentiment Analysis

Collecting and analysing customer feedback during peak seasons helps businesses understand what worked well and what didn’t. This feedback can be used to improve future seasonal strategies. Sentiment analysis of social media and review sites can provide real-time insights into customer perceptions and preferences.

8. Geographic and Demographic Insights

Market research can reveal geographic and demographic differences in seasonal spending. Understanding regional variations and demographic preferences helps businesses tailor their offerings and marketing efforts to different markets.

9. Adjusting Pricing Strategies

Understanding seasonal price sensitivity and elasticity allows businesses to adjust their pricing strategies accordingly. Market research helps determine optimal pricing points that maximise sales and profitability during peak seasons.

10. Enhancing Customer Experience

Market research can identify opportunities to enhance the customer experience during busy seasons. This might include streamlining the checkout process, improving customer service, or offering seasonal perks and discounts.

Incorporating market research into your business strategy enables you to effectively track and respond to seasonal spending patterns. By leveraging data-driven insights, businesses can make informed decisions, optimise their operations, and enhance their competitive edge during peak spending periods.

Want to find out how Square Holes can help your business level up your seasonal retail game? Head here. 

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