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Just because it’s cold and wet, don’t expect shoppers to search for umbrellas and coats, eBay warns

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Winter warmers: shoppers are searching for some unusual things
Winter warmers: shoppers are searching for some unusual things
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Conventional wisdom suggests that if the weather is wintery, then shoppers want coats and hats – but eBay finds that many are looking for summer instead

Brands are advised to expect the unexpected this winter, with wet and windy weather likely to prompt some unconventional shopping sprees. That’s according to new insights released by eBay Advertising, which has found a group of weather-agnostic consumers that advertisers could be cashing in on.

 

Despite gale force winds and sub-zero temperatures, searches for ‘fan’ shot up during some of last year’s big weather events – by 6% during Storm Callum (13th October 2018) and 19% during Storm Deidre (16th December 2018), both compared to two days before.

 

Likewise, searches for ‘mini fridge’ surged 11% and 31% respectively, and searches for ‘ice cream maker’ rose by 8% and 50% in the same timeframe – perhaps indicative of shoppers seeking summer essentials at sales prices.

 

Today’s insights have been published by eBay Advertising in a bid to encourage advertisers to abandon stereotypes and use insights to identify the right audiences this winter.

 

Mike Klinkhammer, Director of Advertising Sales EU at eBay attempts to explain the counterintuitive behaviour: “It’s easy to look at cold, windy weather and assume that all shoppers will want raincoats, umbrellas and hot water bottles. But such presumptions can make advertisers blind to the audiences that are in the market for less weather-appropriate items – but equally open to information and inspiration. Advertisers should use a combination of behavioural and contextual insights to stay on top of the needs of today’s consumers, and those who do this stand the greatest chance of winning big this season. Those who don’t will likely end up out in the cold.”

 

Ruth Chalisey, Director at MediaCom, adds: “From scorching summers to cold wet winters, the weather has an enormous impact on consumer behaviour. However, while some people are predictable, many aren’t – in fact, they can be just as unpredictable as the weather itself. So, with shoppers ready to come out of the woodwork when storms rage outdoors, there are big opportunities for brands that can expect the unexpected. To do this, brands need to be prepared to be agile, observe the way the changing winds affect behaviour and react in real-time.”

 

According to eBay’s insights, relentless rain prompts many shoppers to fantasize about packing their bags and getting out of town. Searches for ‘flight pillow’ took off during Storm Callum, rising 67% compared to just three days before, while searches for ‘wetsuit’ also grew 17%. And this wasn’t a one-off occurrence – eight weeks later, searches for the same keywords surged by 36% and 51% respectively on 13th December as Storm Deidre’s icy winds began to batter the UK.

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