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The Effect of Weather on Consumer Spending

The Effect of Weather on Consumer Spending,Kyle B. Murray,Peter Popkowski Leszczyc

The Effect of Weather on Consumer Spending  
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ing. Second we investigate the effect of weather on mood and consumption of the retailer's product and purchase behavior using daily panel data. Finally, we use a laboratory experiment to deter- mine whether mood mediates the effect of (artificial) sunlight on willingness to spend on a product. The results of the first study highlight the important effects of temperature, humidity, snow fall, and especially sunlight, in retail sales. The second study replicates the general finding of previous research, which indicates that sunlight affects mood, while simul- taneously demonstrating that mood affects spending. The third study found support for the effect of sunlight on willingness to pay for a product that would be consumed sometime in the future, rather than immediately, and demonstrated the effect was fully mediated by negative affect. Overall, the results of the studies reported in this paper provide strong evidence that weather can impact consumer spending. In particular, the observed effect of mood mediating the effect of sunlight-whether real or artificial-on consumer spending is of obvious relevance for the literature on the influence of store illumination on consumer shopping behavior. In this literature, the dominant theoretical model, the Mehrabian-Russell (1974) (M-R) model of approach-avoidance behavior, posits that the combined effects of pleasure, arousal and dominance influences people's behaviors in certain environments. Regarding lighting, the M-R (1974) model theorizes that brighter lighting increases arousal, and that the combination of pleasantness and arousal will positively influence consumers' shopping behaviors. Existing field research (ie, Summers and Hebert 2001; Areni and Kim 1994) has supported the M-R (1974) model of approach-avoidance behavior. Thus, the observed effect of lighting on consumer behavior is assumed to be mediated by arousal and pleasure. However, our results run counter to the M-R (1974) model. In particular, our results suggest it is not so much arousal nor pleasure, as the mitigation of negative affect, which explains the positive effect of high levels of illumination on shopping behaviors. Furthermore, our evidence is stronger than that of Summers and Hebert (2001), and Areni and Kim (1994), because we show that the positive influence of high illumination, caused by the mitigation of negative affect, actually influences consumer spending, while in Summers and Hebert (2001) and Areni and Kim (1994) work, the authors do not measure consumer spending.
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