Fall 2022 Seasonal Outlook: Fashionably Late

By Adrienne Beck

Marketers should be aware that a late-arriving and short fall could delay seasonal demand

Don’t pull out your sweaters yet. 

The latest data from The Weather Company forecasts that September/October will be close to or above average temperatures following a hotter than normal August. 

Your customers probably aren’t thrilled about it. In our research, 69% of consumers say they feel happy or relieved when fall weather first appears in the forecast. Savvy marketers will keep an eye on the forecast when launching fall campaigns.

69% of consumers say they feel happy or relieved when fall weather first appears in the forecast.

Forget the calendar. Watch the forecast.

Despite brands rushing to sling pumpkin flavors at shoppers still wearing shorts and flip-flops, consumers say it’s mostly the weather that causes them to change behaviors rather than dates on the calendar, the start of school, seasonal product availability or activities. When asked what prompts fall-related changes, the top responses from consumers were “what the weather feels like” (65%) and “the forecast” (64%).

Periodic cooler days, especially in September, could inspire spending bursts and increased outdoor activity from eager customers. When fall weather does replace the summer heat, marketers should seize the opportunity to grab new customers or introduce products: Some 66% of consumers told us that fall weather impacts their desire for change and/or trying something new. 

Some 66% of consumers told us that fall weather impacts their desire for change and/or trying something new.

It's all about timing.

Where hotter temperatures persist, fall-focused marketers must prepare for lethargic, less-motivated consumer mindsets; a kind of summer hangover. When the thermometer finally surrenders, be ready to capitalize on the sudden enthusiasm.

Here's three ways marketers can protect and improve campaign performance this fall:

  • All eyes on the forecast. With seasonal norms no longer reliable, marketers should eschew the calendar and execute campaigns based on the forecast.
  • Relativity is relevance. Weather-triggered media accounts for differences in how consumers experience weather, leveraging local condition mixes to increase fall campaign effectiveness.
  • Fortune favors the empathetic. Connect with consumers as the transition to fall weather inspires joy and relief, leading to increased spending activity and positive sentiment.

To help you get started, here’s the cumulative outlook for September, October and November, followed by a breakdown of each month.

A weather map of temperature outlook September-November

The map above tells the story of the seasonal average, which sees only the southern states, and Gulf coast expected to be near average. For the rest of the country, temperatures will rise above average, with the highest intensity pocketed in the northern Rocky Mountains. 

September

Much of the Great Basin, northern Rockies and Northwest have the best chance of a hot September. New England’s September may skew warmer than average, too. This is all similar to 2021. 

However, most of the Southern Plains and Midwest may be less hot than 2021. Rainfall may be above average along the Gulf and Southeast coasts, with the typical wild cards of tropical storms and hurricanes in play. Much of the northern tier from Washington state to the upper Midwest is expected to be drier.

A weather map of September 2022 Temperature vs Average

September 2022 temperature vs average

A weather map of September Precipitation vs Average

September 2022 precipitation vs average

 

October

Typical for a La Niña, most areas from the Rockies across the northern and central Plains into the Midwest and Northeast should be warmer than usual. Dry weather should also be widespread from the southern Rockies to the Midwest, not good news for the existing Plains drought. Only the Northeast coast, Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest may be a tad wetter than average.

A weather map of October 2022 temperature vs average

October 2022 temperature vs average

A weather map of October precipitation vs average

October 2022 precipitation vs average

 

November

Warmth may continue to lag into November across much of the West and Plains. Near-average temperatures are expected elsewhere in the East and Northwest. Typical of both November and La Niña, the Pacific Northwest will likely be wetter than usual while much of the southern U.S. will trend drier than average. In general, this is quite similar to last November.

A weather map of November 2022 temperature vs average

November 2022 temperature vs average

A weather map of November precipitation vs average

November 2022 precipitation vs average

 

Dog days of autumn?

Leaf-peepers, apple-pickers, corn-maze wanderers, and consumers yearning to cozy up with a cable-knit will have to wait a bit longer this year for their cooler temperatures. But for weather-savvy marketers, opportunities abound to empathize with those suffering heat fatigue, while getting ready to celebrate the season with them when temperatures finally drop. With winter right around the calendar corner, be sure to enjoy fall’s joys: Take time to stop and smell the pumpkin spice.


How will fall conditions impact consumer spending?

Learn how Weather Targeting can help your brand connect with consumers whatever the weather.

Sources

All statistics based on results from the IBM Watson Advertising Fall 2022 Behavior Survey, July 2022 (published internally)

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Produced in the United States of America August 2022

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