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Wild weather warning for brands as ‘storm shoppers’ defy expectations

By Lauren Fruncillo January 9, 2020 - 1:20 pm

Wet and windy weather conditions descend on the UK this week and new insights from eBay reveal how storm shoppers can be as unpredictable as the weather.

The biggest storms of the last two years brought to surface an unusual array of shoppers, with strange search trends including ‘fans’, ‘mini fridges’ and ‘ice cream maker’ on ebay.co.uk during cold weather. Brace yourself sellers as this means through the week and the rest of winter you should expect the unexpected from customers.

The unexpected consumer might not be all that unusual… Picture this, you’re gazing out of the window into the miserable stormy abyss daydreaming of better days, suns out, the sausages are sizzling away on the BBQ (Unless you’re vegan) and then you remember the pure agony of the summer heat and even worse kids are now screaming for ice cream!? Consumers are preparing for summer.

“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.”
– Mike Klinkhammer, Director of Advertising Sales EU, eBay

What the insights say


  • Searches for ‘fan’ shot up by 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.

  • ‘flight pillow’ took off during Storm Callum, rising 67% compared to just three days before, while searches for ‘wetsuit’ also grew 17%. 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.

“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.”
– Ruth Chalisey, Director, MediaCom

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