DIY and the Weather


Daniel Todaro says DIY’s weather obsession needs to stop Adverse weather conditions often get the blame for retailers’ woes – and the fact that even in the middle of an heatwave we’re seeing many lament their bad luck demonstrates just how ingrained this mentality has become.

As I write this with temperatures sailing above 30C, Amazon reporting a 446% increase in paddling pool sales and Asda shifting BBQ sets at an increased rate of 204%, it seems strange to think it was barely a month ago that it was the rain causing all the problems for the sector. Headlines began with the same rhetoric: “wet weather hammers profits”, “coldest spring in 50 years prompts profit dive”.

Granted, these doom-laden headlines had something to do with our abysmally cold and wet spring but the message translates quite clearly; once again, sales drops were prefaced with the ready-made excuse of ‘bad weather. It’s repeated every year. Any fluctuation in the UK’s weather sees DIY retailers reach for the same tired excuses.  However, with the news emerging that spending on DIY fell for the fifth-successive year in 2012 to its lowest point since 2000, £5 billion less than the peak of £15.5 billion in 2004, DIY retailers need to look beyond the ‘seasonal’ approach they’ve taken in the past and endeavour to find innovative ways to being to drive their sales.

Good weather tends to go hand-in-hand with the desire to take to our gardens and the images foisted upon us by retailers in the summer tend to be rooted in aspiration and lifestyle – and indeed, lifestyle is the key word the DIY sector should be focusing on. In order to break-out of this industry-wide malaise, DIY retailers ought to look beyond the conventional approach and start to view themselves as lifestyle brands.

For even when these retailers are rejoicing at the sunshine, all we see is the same uninspiring campaigns, the same expected promotional offers we get every year, and the same wistful looks when the summer ends and autumn begins.  If they are able to position their offering as desirable and in synch with a certain sort of lifestyle, (in this case one that’s quite tropical), then the sector could see year round prosperity restored – and this is not as difficult as it sounds. Developments in technology mean brands can take advantage of outdoor advertising to create campaigns that adapt to real-time information.


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