Stormy conditions batter the UK's shores
Weather has a big impact on the UK's commercial sector Getty

The influence of weather on shopper behaviour presents a real opportunity for retailers and suppliers to help forecast product demand accurately, a new research has found.

The Met Office undertook research among 200 senior managers and executives across more than 80 companies in order to better understand the impact of the weather on shopper behaviour and supply chains.

Almost half of respondents (47%) ranked weather as the third most important factor external to their business that drives consumer demand, after seasonality and competitor activity.

Retailers said they are primarily using weather data for short-term sales forecasts (62%) followed by planning stock availability (43%) and planning deliveries from depot to store (43%).

Planning stock availability and long-term sales forecasts (29% respectively) are the two most desired uses of weather forecasts for retailers, followed by planning national marketing campaigns (24%).

For suppliers, meanwhile, short-term sales forecasts (58%) also top the list for current use of weather data, this time followed by long-term sales forecasts (43%) and promotional planning (33%).

"It's not enough to consider an average weather or temperature for the whole day. For example, if it's sunny at lunch and rains later you can sell 20% more sandwiches than if it rains at lunch and may be sunny later," said a senior supply chain manager from a national retailer.