Aftermarket Perspectives

March 2014

Winter Weather and Automotive Products

It has been a winter for the ages. Within the past few weeks, it was reported that every state in the continental U.S. had snow on the ground somewhere, with Florida being the lone exception. Southern cities unaccustomed to the severity of a winter blast have been paralyzed with snow and ice, while the northern regions have endured wave after wave of storm systems. This year, winter arrived not only in full force, but early, with November registering colder than last year in eight out of nine Census regions. Most of this early wintery weather showed up during Thanksgiving week as families were preparing to gather for the holiday.

A need for more granular information
These weather-related events revealed some sales spikes compared to a milder period a year ago. One example is that the sales of winter wiper blades increased 25 percent in November 2013 versus year-ago. And with weekly data, we’re not limited to just analyzing November sales to gauge the impact of Thanksgiving weather on consumers’ aftermarket spending. While manufacturers and their retail partners understand the basics of seasonality in categories such as winter blades, more granular weekly time periods permit much more effective seasonal planning. For example, if marketers used the 25 percent November spike as a benchmark for inventory and replenishment of winter blades in advance of the next winter blast, they would have found those plans to be woefully inadequate. By examining sales during the actual week of Thanksgiving 2013, we see sales of winter blades increased 105 percent versus the same week in 2012. Armed with this understanding, retailers and their vendor partners can collaborate much more effectively in preparing for the next big weather event, which means they can better serve consumers and grow market share.


Build stronger relationships by collaborating more effectively
Weekly granularity allows manufacturers and their retail partners to be smarter about how to prepare for and optimize sales during severe weather events. A better understanding of sales spikes in key segments allows for adequate inventory before and during the event, replenishment after the event, and the ability to satisfy customers as they rely on retailers and their preferred brands in times of need.

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