A Mild Winter Brings Fewer Searches

Snow-less Empty Chairlift

Image from: ghido / Shutterstock

For most parts of the country, this winter has been relatively snow-free.  Here in Boston, we only had 6.8 inches of snow this January—compared to a whopping 60.8 inches last year. Many people are enjoying the break from harsh winter weather, happy to leave their heavy coats and boots at home. However, others are bemoaning the lack of snow, waiting for that one storm that will bring better skiing conditions or a day off from school. Online retailers may also be waiting for snow, as winter weather often brings sales in the form of apparel and recreational gear. I decided to take a look at some of Compete’s data to see just how much this mild weather has influenced shopping patterns this year.

I looked at all searches containing the words “ski” or “snow” that led to an online retailer in January of this year and last year. Not surprisingly, volumes had dropped significantly, with overall searches down 44% from last year.

Winter Search Volumes

Search terms remained similar from year to year, but volumes dropped once again. Searches for “snow blowers” fell 68% YOY, and “snow boots” was down 60%.

Winter Search Terms

I also took a look at some of the top retailers people were referred to after their search. As with the terms, top sites remained similar year over year. Though all sites saw a drop in referrals from last year, eBay had one of the least dramatic declines. As the winter draws on without snow, people may be more likely to visit eBay for used or cheaper winter products, rather than making an investment on something new.

Top Retailers People Were Referred To

Based on this search data, it is clear that consumers’ shopping patterns have shifted with the change in the weather this winter. However, we’re not out of the woods yet. One major snowstorm in the final weeks of winter could be just the thing to boost the volume of searches—and sales—of winter gear and apparel.

About Lindsay Steinbach:
Lindsay Steinbach is an Associate in Retail and Consumer Products at Compete. Lindsay is responsible for data mining and providing analysis for a wide rang of retail and CPG clients. Before Lindsay joined the Compete team she was a student at Dartmouth College. Connect with Lindsay on LinkedIn