Jonas is coming and Jonas happened…
A week after we arrived, New England was already preparing for us a huge experience: the arrival of the snowstorm Jonas that everyone was feared of. Indeed, last year at the same period fell nearly 70 cm of snow and the classes were canceled every Monday for a month due to the too large amount of snow.
In my class of Consumer Behavior, the teacher even asked us to write an assignment about the influence that this storm would have on consumer behavior. As a French I had no idea of the real impact of Jonas on consumption.
So, here is my work where I compared the situation observed in shops of the city and the behavior of people in France.
Weather affects everyone, every day, and influences our behaviors and decisions. Weather conditions affect consumer demand, and the extreme situations winter snow storms can significantly impact on the consumer buying behavior. The weather can even sometimes have a dramatic effect on sales during the winter.
The arrival of the Winter Storm “Jonas” was very unusual for me, because in Lyon (France) where I live, there is never storms. So I didn’t know how to prepare for this new “experience”.
Friday, the day before the storm, I went to the Stop&Shop. There were many people buying everything and there shopping carts were full of food, that they even didn’t need.
Actually the storm doesn’t even need to hit to change customer behavior. Since the announcement of a storm, people rely on their survival instincts when they see a lot of other consumers taking everything off the shelves. So, we observe an effect of imitation: people follow the behavior of other consumers by buying any kind of products, even if it is not a real need.
Then people make impulsive purchases, compared to usual. They make provisions by purchasing all kinds of products (rather food), even what they will never eat, because they are preparing for the worst.
The storm arrived on the weekend, so that had a large impact on the consumer behavior. Indeed, people could not get out walking, shopping, as was perhaps expected. They simply stayed at home.
For people who maybe wanted to still go out or who needed to go to work, it was impossible, because the public transport did not work and even the cars were blocked.
In France, this type of situation (almost) never happens. Consumers have therefore a completely different behavior, and are not used to do provisions like this.
The snow was falling during the whole weekend and everything became very white and beautiful on campus.
It also was very cold, that’s why our mentors gave us “hand warmers” to survive this cold. They had even offered it to us the first day that we arrived, to show us that I will be very cold!!
During the storm no one dared to leave home to even eat at the cafeteria. It was then time to order at the pizzeria, Chinese restaurant and other places to stay warm and safe at home and still eat.
Finally this experience of the storm allowed me to discover beautiful landscapes of Newport under the snow, because we still had snow many times, so the last time was in March!
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