Weather is an ever-present force in consumers’ daily lives, yet marketing lacks a comprehensive understanding of how and when it affects consumers and businesses. The current research investigates the effect of weather, a ubiquitous environmental cue, on consumers’ valuation of products. A large-scale field study and four experiments demonstrate that weather affects product valuation but only under particular conditions. In line with a process account drawing on mental simulation of product use, product valuation increases only if (1) the product is associated (vs. not associated) with a given weather state, as the match of product and weather facilitates mental simulation, and (2) the product is perceived as attractive (vs. unattractive), as mental simulation highlights both positive and negative product characteristics. We test three weather states—sunshine, snowfall, and rain—and find that our effects emerge for sunshine and snowfall but not for rain, as the latter does not enhance mental simulation. The findings advance literature on the effects of environmental cues and mental simulation and guide firms on how to increase consumers’ valuation of products by weather-related measures.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Agnew, M. D., & Palutikof, J. P. (1999). The impacts of climate on retailing in the UK with particular reference to the anomalously hot summer of 1995. International Journal of Climatology, 19(13), 1493–1507.
Andrade, E. B., & Cohen, J. B. (2007). On the consumption of negative feelings. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(3), 283–300.
Belk, R. W. (1974). An exploratory assessment of situational effects in buyer behavior. Journal of Marketing Research, 11(2), 156–163.
Buchheim, L., & Kolaska, T. (2016). Weather and the psychology of purchasing outdoor movie tickets. Management Science, 63(11), 3718–3738.
Busse, M. R., Pope, D. G., Pope, J. C., & Silva-Risso, J. (2015). The psychological effect of weather on car purchases. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 130(1), 371–414.
Cian, L., Krishna, A., & Elder, R. S. (2015). A sign of things to come: Behavioral change through dynamic iconography. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(6), 1426–1446.
Cohen, J., Pham, M., & Andrade, E. (2008). The nature and role of affect in consumer behavior. In C. P. Haugtvedt, P. M. Herr, & F. R. Kardes (Eds.), Handbook of consumer psychology (pp. 297–348). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cunningham, M. R. (1979). Weather, mood, and helping behavior: Quasi experiments with the sunshine samaritan. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(11), 1947–1956.
de Bellis, E., Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Brucks, W., Herrmann, A., & Hertwig, R. (2018). Blind haste: As light decreases, speeding increases. PLoS One, 13(1), e0188951.
Elder, R. S., & Krishna, A. (2012). The ‘visual depiction effect’ in advertising: Facilitating embodied mental simulation through product orientation. Journal of Consumer Research, 38(6), 988–1003.
Escalas, J. E. (2004). Imagine yourself in the product: Mental simulation, narrative transportation, and persuasion. Journal of Advertising, 33(2), 37–48.
Fisher, J. D. (1974). Situation-specific variables as determinants of perceived environmental esthetic quality and perceived crowdedness. Journal of Research in Personality, 8, 177–188.
Gutsell, J. N., & Inzlicht, M. (2010). Empathy constrained: Prejudice predicts reduced mental simulation of actions during observation of outgroups. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(5), 841–845.
Hayes, A. F. (2012) PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf. Accessed 9 January 2019.
Heyman, J. E., Orhun, Y., & Ariely, D. (2004). Auction fever: The effect of opponents and quasi-endowment on product valuations. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(4), 7–21.
Hildebrand, C., Häubl, G., & Herrmann, A. (2014). Product customization via starting solutions. Journal of Marketing Research, 51(6), 707–725.
Hirshleifer, D., & Shumway, T. (2003). Good day sunshine: Stock returns and the weather. Journal of Finance, 58(3), 1009–1032.
Hong, J., & Sun, Y. (2012). Warm it up with love: The effect of physical coldness on liking of romance movies. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(2), 293–306.
Keller, P. A., & McGill, A. L. (1994). Differences in the relative influence of product attributes under alternative processing conditions: Attribute importance versus attribute ease of imagability. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 3(1), 29–49.
Keller, M. C., Fredrickson, B. L., Ybarra, O., Côté, S., Johnson, K., Mikels, J., Conway, A., & Wager, T. (2005). A warm heart and a clear head the contingent effects of weather on mood and cognition. Psychological Science, 16(9), 724–731.
King, C. III and D. Narayandas (2000), Coca-Cola's New Vending Machine (a): Pricing to capture value, or not?, 1–9, 9–500-068, https://www.alumni.hbs.edu/Documents/reunions/Narayandas_AMP%20Reunion_Coca-Cola%20Case.pdf. Accessed 4 January 2016.
Lee, J. J., Gino, F., & Staats, B. R. (2014). Rainmakers: Why bad weather means good productivity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(3), 504–513.
Lehmann, D. R., Stuart, J. A., Johar, G. V., & Thozhur, A. (2007). Spontaneous visualization and concept evaluation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35(3), 309–316.
Li, Y., Johnson, E. J., & Zaval, L. (2011). Local warming. Psychological Science, 22(4), 454–459.
Murray, K. B. (1991). A test of services marketing theory: Consumer information acquisition activities. Journal of Marketing, 55(1), 10–25.
Murray, K. B., Di Muro, F., Finn, A., & Popkowski Leszczyc, P. (2010). The effect of weather on consumer spending. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 17(6), 512–520.
Nicas, J. (2015), Now prices can change from minute to minute, Wall Street Journal, Accessed November 30, 2016, http://www.wsj.com/articles/now-prices-can-change-from-minute-to-minute-1450057990.
Nielsen, J., Escalas, J. E., & Hoeffler, S. (2018). Mental simulation and category knowledge affect really new product evaluation through transportation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24(3), 145–158.
Petrova, P. K., & Cialdini, R. B. (2005). Fluency of consumption imagery and the backfire effects of imagery appeals. Journal of Consumer Research, 32(3), 442–452.
Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., & Dirks, K. T. (2003). The state of psychological ownership: Integrating and extending a century of research. Review of General Psychology, 7(1), 84–107.
Riccio, D. C., Richardson, R., & Ebner, D. L. (1984). Memory retrieval deficits based upon altered contextual cues: A paradox. Psychological Bulletin, 96(1), 152–165.
Rind, B. (1996). Effect of beliefs about weather conditions on tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26(2), 137–147.
Rind, B., & Strohmetz, D. (2001). Effect of beliefs about future weather conditions on restaurant tipping. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31(10), 2160–2164.
Sanna, L. J. (2000). Mental simulation, affect, and personality a conceptual framework. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7(5), 168–173.
Saunders, E. M. (1993). Stock prices and wall street weather. American Economic Review, 83(5), 1337–1345.
Smith, S. M., & Vela, E. (2001). Environmental context-dependent memory: A review and meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8(2), 203–220.
Spencer, S. J., Zanna, M. P., & Fong, G. T. (2005). Establishing a causal chain: Why experiments are often more effective than mediational analyses in examining psychological processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(6), 845–851.
Steele, A. T. (1951). Weather’s Effect on the Sales of a Department Store. Journal of Marketing, 15(4), 436–443. https://doi.org/10.1177/002224295101500404
Taylor, S. E., & Schneider, S. K. (1989). Coping and the simulation of events. Social Cognition, 7(2), 174–194.
Taylor, S. E., Pham, L. B., Rivkin, I. D., & Armor, D. A. (1998). Harnessing the imagination: Mental simulation, self-regulation, and coping. American Psychologist, 53(4), 429–439.
Thompson, D. V., Hamilton, R. W., & Petrova, P. K. (2009). When mental simulation hinders behavior: The effects of process-oriented thinking on decision difficulty and performance. Journal of Consumer Research, 36(4), 562–574.
Ülkümen, G., & Thomas, M. (2013). Personal relevance and mental simulation amplify the duration framing effect. Journal of Marketing Research, 50(2), 194–206.
Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070.
Zhao, M., Hoeffler, S., & Zauberman, G. (2011). Mental simulation and product evaluation: The affective and cognitive dimensions of process versus outcome simulation. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(5), 827–839.
Zwebner, Y., Lee, L., & Goldenberg, J. (2013). The temperature premium: Warm temperatures increase product valuation. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24(2), 251–259.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Gergana Nenkov served as Area Editor for this article.
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Schlager, T., de Bellis, E. & Hoegg, J. How and when weather boosts consumer product valuation. J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. 48, 695–711 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11747-019-00717-y
- Product valuation
- Mental simulation
- Environmental cues
- Online auctions