“The weather affects our decisions”

Weather effects on online decision making

Weather effects on online decision making

Weather conditions influence our mood. And is well established in the psychological literature that mood, feelings, and emotions affect our decisions.

On sunny days, we’re happier and more satisfied with life in general than on rainy days. This is because we misattribute our mood to our satisfaction with life in general (instead of attributing it to the weather). Nice detail: our tendency to ‘internalize’ is stronger for good moods, than for sad moods.

The effect is that on shiny days we behave as happy people do (e.g. we’re more risk-seeking on sunny days), but when the weather is bad we behave more like sad people (e.g. more risk-averse).


Scientific research example:

Imagine you take part in a telephonic survey and you’re asked about your current mood and your general well-being. Would it matter whether it’s a sunny or rainy day? Schwarz and Clore (1983) proved that it does (nice detail: the effect of the rain diminishes when you’re made aware of it, but the effect of the sun remains even when you realize the good weather)!

Howarth and Hoffmann found (in 1984) that humidity, temperature, and hours of sunshine are the weather aspects that have the greatest effect on our mood.

More recently the indirect effect of weather conditions on – for example – stock market returns has been investigated. It has been proven that the amount of sunshine (Saunders, 1993; Hirshleifer & Shumway, 2003), rain (Dowling & Lucey, 2002) and temperature (Cao & Wei, 2005) influence the mood of investors and the mood change causes them to alter their investment behavior.

Also, our choice of cars and houses is vulnerable to weather conditions (Busse et al., 2012).


Online Persuasion tips:

  • Try to find an API-enabled database with weather information and hook it to your content systems and apps
  • If this is too much investment, at least use yearly averages
  • And don’t forget to instruct your social media employees


And then:

  • On gloomy and rainy days, put extra effort into ‘risk averse’ or conservative decisions, like prolonging existing contracts and repurchases (this is the moment for that ‘retention campaign’ (or ‘detention’ as my colleague @arend78 calls it :))
  • On shiny moments you can more easily have your customer try new things, like having prospects switch from supplier, or up & cross-sell to existing clients


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Further reading on Weather Effects: