How weather forecasts what is under the tree this year

Weather impacts what we buy, when we buy it and show much we spend when it comes to holiday shopping.

Do you want to know what you will be opening under the tree this Christmas? Check the weather. Recent and current weather impacts not only what we buy but how much we buy and spend for the holidays, say analysts.

"Weather drives everything, especially this time of year. Weather affects the things that we buy," Fred Fox, CEO of Planalytics, told FOX Weather. "So if we have a mild holiday season, people buy less clothing and more toys and electronics. And if we have a cold holiday season, then people tend to buy more warm weather goods."

More than 166 million of us are expected to go shopping this weekend, according to the National Retail Federation. These are the strongest numbers since the company started tracking the data in 2017.

And Fox is not surprised. Recent weather put everyone into a holiday shopping mindset.

Cold weather means cold cash for some retailers

"It's the coldest in about seven years and we're the snowiest third week in November in over 20 years." Fox explained. "That gets people in that holiday mood even though going into the weekend we're a little bit on the mild side."

Retailers are already starting the holiday season joyful after robust pre-holiday sales, at full price. Analysts say weather led to full cash registers. 


WeatherTrends, another analytics firm that looks at weather and consumer spending year over year, said that the 2 weeks leading up to Black Friday were the coldest in 22 years across the U.S. 

"Weather's driving that with this really cold start to the middle November period here pre-Black Friday," Weather Trends CEO, Bill Kirk told FOX Weather. " Maybe you had to go get a winter coat. I mean, snow's up 443% in November (compared to last year). So it's been cold and snowy and you had to go get that product. You're buying that product at full price that benefits the retailers." 

About 60% of Americans told the National Retail Federation that they started browsing and buying in October and early November. 

WeatherTrends took a look at 10,000 retailers and determined that every 1-degree cooler than average temperature translates to a 5% bump in fall outerwear sales. Numbers this year show a 47% increase in sales over last year’s numbers. December 2021 was the warmest in 127 years, says NOAA


And the more cash a shopper spends on necessities, the fewer buck they will have to spend on more frivolous Christmas gifts.

So, while the cold is a boon for some retailers like Home Depot and Target, both reporting third-quarter profits above expectation, not everyone celebrates when the mercury drops.

Not every retailer benefits from the cold

"Electronics would be a category that'll be down. So in this inflationary environment, you have to decide between groceries and gas and Christmas gifts," said Kirk. 

"So you look at some of the retail sales, electronics and high-end items that are not doing well. But what are doing well is seasonal merchandise," continued Kirk. "You have to have a coat. If last year was really hot, maybe you didn't get a coat for the kids. But then this year its cold and that coat’s two years old, you got to get it this year."


Cold will continue to push sales, analyst says

Weather Trends is bullish on fourth-quarter sales too for necessities.

"December we think (will be) the coldest in six years, the worst Eastern snow in five years. So those trends are going to continue into Q4," said Kirk. "And we think Q4 again will come in a little higher than expected for most retailers."

So, don’t be surprised to open up a pair of gloves, a pair of warm socks or a sweater on Christmas this year.