Weather events are expected to add billions of dollars to U.S. e-commerce sales this year.
According to new analysis of weather data from The Weather Company, an IBM business, by Adobe Analytics, weather events will add an additional $13.5 billion to U.S. e-commerce in 2023, after driving a $13.1 billion increase in 2022. That is more than the record-setting $11.3 billion Adobe estimates U.S. consumers spent online during Cyber Monday 2022.
Of the $13.5 billion in e-commerce sales weather is expected to generate in 2023, Adobe predicts rain will contribute the most at $8.7 billion, followed by wind at $4.4 billion and snow at $250 million. Following is a closer look at how each type of weather event is predicted to affect U.S. online sales.
Adobe analysis indicates the effect of rainfall on e-commerce peaks when consumers experience between 0.8 and one inch of rain. Once rain reaches this level, online spending is boosted by 4.4%.
By comparison, rain at roughly half that level (between 0.4 and 0.6 inches) boosts e-commerce by 3.7%. The effects of rain are amplified on weekends, when the boost rain provides to e-commerce nearly doubles. Adobe analysis also reveals the impact of rain on e-commerce is strongest in the fall, when even a drizzle will boost e-commerce by around 5%.
When wind hits 15–20 miles per hour (MPH), Adobe analysis shows that online shopping increases 3.5%. However, as wind speeds rise to the 20–25 MPH range, the boost drops to 2.3%.
Beyond speeds of 25 MPH, Adobe says consumer distraction caused by potential threats to people and property makes e-commerce spending drop by 6.7%. Wind speeds in excess of 30 MPH generate a steeper 22.1% decline in online shopping.
Adobe also tracks regional differences in how wind impacts e-commerce. In cities where wind is less common, such as Atlanta, commerce falls by 30% past the 25 MPH and 90% past the 30 MPH mark. By comparison, in cities where wind is more common, such as Chicago, online shopping increases 6% when wind exceeds the 30 MPH mark.
Adobe analysis suggests that snow’s impact on online shopping varies considerably by geographic location. In cities such as Austin and Charlotte, where snow totals are low (average of less than 20 inches per year), e-commerce spending begins to drop after the first inch of snow. If snowfall hits 10 inches in these cities, online shopping falls by nearly 30%.
But in cities where snow is more common, such as New York City and Seattle, snowfall boosts e-commerce. For instance, six to eight inches of snow increases online spending by 4% in these locations.
Analysis from Adobe Analytics covers over one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, 100 million SKUs, and 18 product categories. Adobe Analytics is part of Adobe Experience Cloud.