In just one day, over two feet of snow have blanketed the streets outside my window in Boston. While the snow season got off to a slow start this year, we are heading into February with some real winter weather. According to the DTN 2021-2022 U.S. Winter Outlook, enhanced snowfall is expected in northern New England, with warmer temperatures in southern New England, during the back-half of this winter. Supermarkets can support shoppers through snow and sleet this season by taking advantage of key trends in winter weather must-haves.
In the winter tools category—including ice scrapers, snowbrushes, and snowbrooms— snowbrushes have the highest percentage of unit sales at 48%. Ice scrapers represent 20% of unit volume but the smallest percentage (5%) of dollar sales due to their low average sales price. Specialty winter items, including emergency snow shovels and foam snow plows, represent the lowest unit sales but continue to grow year-over-year in both units and dollars.
Innovation in winter tools and shovels has broadened the range of options and price points in this category. The appeal of these new features to shoppers has led to dollar sales growth across the winter tools category. Imperial’s Seasonal Director and category expert, Cathy Savchick, provides insight on this trend in winter goods: “In both shovels and snow tools, customers have been willing to trade up to products that make snow removal safer and easier with little price resistance. Shovels with ergonomic, lighter weight aluminum shafts and easier to grip handles have seen steady sales growth in retailers carrying items beyond the opening price-point. In the snow tool category, with more and more SUV’s on the road now, consumers have been trading up to snow brooms making dollar share almost equal to snow brushes.” The result of this trend has been a 4% increase in average retail sales prices without a reduction in unit sales, leading to strong year-over-year results. Retailers can benefit from this trend to achieve higher rings at the register by stocking more premium shovels, scrapers and brushes this season.
The combination of snow and warmer temperatures in parts of New England in February and March could mean wet, heavy snow and the dreaded “wintery mix.” With the potential for power outages in this type of weather, promotion of batteries, flashlights and storm candles can also support shoppers’ needs through winter storms. LED flashlights offer a growing opportunity for retailers and consumers.
With a diverse range of winter tools and storm preparedness products, supermarkets can optimize seasonal sales through the end of the winter. And with easy access to this year’s best winter essentials, shoppers will be able to dig out of the snow safely and comfortably….no matter how deep it buries us this season.