How Heat Affects Global Consumer Behavior
Michael Seymour |
 09/09/22 |
6 min read

How heat affects consumer behavior

Frequent reminders of the rising global temperatures call to mind an important thought: What is the effect of heat on business? Given that, among the greatest influences on consumer behavior, the weather is ranked second to the economy, it is a thought brands should dwell on.

Does climate change have the potential to alter the way we produce and market products? Can knowledge of the seasons help brands optimize their marketing efforts? How should you place your ads to maximize their impact in the context of changing weather conditions throughout the day and across the globe? Those are just a few things to have in mind! Let’s dig in.

As we can see below, the heat impacts a variety of consumer conversations, with consumers sharing challenges around various products, food items and pets, as well as inflation concerns:

Scientific research can help answer the broad-range questions about the effect of heat on consumer behavior. However, more focused real-time consumer research can help you figure out your target customer base by taking into account factors such as product category, target location, and demographics.

Through AI-backed consumer research technology, you can find data to help you understand how heat affects the mood of the consumer, how they buy, what they buy, how much they buy, how much they are willing to pay, as well as how much weight they put on social proof.

1. Heat Affects Consumer Attitude

In hot weather, people are more predisposed to violence. Scientific research has shown that hot temperatures cause people to be angrier and more hostile. They also have lower alertness and energy.

Further, heat also raises parsimony making consumers less likely to spend.

Consumer attitudes can be studied both from what they say and the actions they take. And most consumers use social media to express their attitudes and opinions on brands and products.

Through social listening, these posts and conversations can be found where they are posted on social platforms, review sites, and discussion forums. NLP-based sentiment analysis helps brands translate the words into tone and feelings, revealing the underlying attitude.

word cloud and consumer attitudes

The words used can help reveal consumer attitudes.

Because the prevailing mood can influence how consumers react to your own products, understanding that the attitude is influenced by heat can help you develop a better strategy for your own brand.

2. Heat Inspires Consumers to Explore Different Buying Platforms

Hot weather motivates people to explore the range of shopping options available to them. It’s no wonder when online sales improve during the hot months as people hesitate to go outside.

Others prefer to go to the stores later in the day to avoid traveling when it’s too hot. However, sometimes the effect of heat can be just the opposite.

People may choose to go outside to enjoy the sunshine, especially if they are getting out of a cold season. Similarly, people in different locations on the globe may respond differently to rising temperatures.

It’s important to run ongoing consumer behavior research and make decisions based on what the data suggests, based on geography as well as what one is seeing overall.


Another great way to monitor regional trends and conversations is through local news media. Of course, keeping track of local news outlets across all your target locations needs to be an automated process, or it will be too time-consuming to be worth the effort.

3. Product Purchase Selections Impacted by Heat Index

The types of products people buy also change. It’s quite obvious that people will consume cold beverages at higher rates during hot weather and warm clothing will sell less.

But weather goes on to affect other types of products as well. One study found that people visited furniture, wholesale, and clothing retailers in larger numbers during the wet or cold days than on warm and sunny days.

This could suggest that, for instance, consumers will be less inclined to upgrade their wardrobes or home on hot days.

Whether this translates to your own vertical and brand will depend on internal studies of consumer behavior.

Through website monitoring, you can match changes in traffic as well as product views with local weather conditions to determine whether the fluctuations are due to heat. Uploading various data sets into one dashboard is helpful here, and then layer it with consumer behavior intelligence to reveal actionable intel. This is insight to base future sales campaigns upon!

You can also do broader analyses to see how different industries are being affected by hot weather. This can help inform the steps you take for your brand.

4. Heat Also Impacts Purchase Quantities

Aside from the type of product, heat has a significant influence on the amount of product sold to each buyer.

It has been shown that heat generally lowers our cognitive ability. Workers are less productive in hot weather and consumers spend less time on decisions.

This could provide an opening for projection bias which could influence the average amount of product that consumers buy.

Projection bias is a psychological phenomenon where we make false assumptions about how current decisions will affect our future selves. For instance, when people are shopping hungry, they may be inclined to buy more junk food than they need.

As heat affects our cognitive functioning, consumers may be more likely to buy larger amounts of the same product as they don’t want to underestimate their needs and find they didn’t get enough.

Similarly, they may put off making important decisions on large purchases such as cars and houses until they are in the proper frame of mind to think it through.

Uncovering such patterns in consumer behavior requires a deep-level analysis of available data on the internet as well as your own internal data – starting with an aerial view and ending with a magnifying glass.

5. Heat May Require Flexible Pricing

It’s time to consider that maybe there is no optimal price for your product. That the price at which consumers are willing to buy it will vary depending on the weather.

In hot weather, people need cooling products whether it’s ice cream or a car coolant. They are therefore more likely to spend more (or whatever price that is asked) for these products.

Alternatively, considering what we said before––that hot weather makes people more aggressive––heat may make customers more contentious over prices.

Certainly, not for all products. In an experiment done on consumer behavior, customers willingly paid considerably more for green tea and gym membership after being exposed to sunlight.

Knowing how to charge your customers will not only protect the bottom line but may also improve customer lifetime value. Make use of available data through consumer behavior research to know the optimal price as weather conditions change.

6. Overheated Consumers Seek Out Social Proof

Social proof is an important aspect of promoting a product or service. It turns out that hot weather raises the demand for it.

Research shows that exposure to warm temperatures makes consumers more reliant on social proof when making purchasing decisions. It makes sense: If the heatwave is lowering your alertness, you want to be safe; so, you go with the herd.

In a study, participants placed in a warm room favored an established product over an innovative one because it was easier to judge the established product from social proof than evaluate the pros of the other product.

In short, during the hot weather, you want to highlight social proof on your product. These are the times that the strength of your brand will be most effective.

netbase quid analysis and monitoring

Measuring and improving your brand health comes in handy in the hot seasons.

To get a good grip of the consumer buying process, you must understand consumer behavior through research. If you didn’t realize that heat has a profound influence on this process, you do now! Time to take action and get ahead of these challenges.

There is nothing you can do about nature but work with it through consumer and market research to secure an advantage. This is what you get with NetBase Quid®. When you understand consumer behavior through data, the right decision is obvious.

Reach out for a demo to see how seemingly disparate pieces of data can be stringed together to inform strategy, and help your brand take the heat as it comes!

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