Summer is here! Warmer temperatures, outdoor gatherings and fun in the sun traveling has begun. While some things seem more optimistic, as COVID restrictions have dissipated, there remain some “challenges” that could pose complication to summer plans. For instance, travel costs are rising each month, threatening planned vacations. For those preparing to take road trips this summer, the national gas average per gallon hit $4.95 at end of last month, with highs landing over $6 in some states1. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports gasoline prices are up 49% versus last year2.
The rising fuel costs are also impacting the wallets of those taking flights to their summer destinations. Adding to these rising flight prices include reports of the top 11 US airlines planning to fly 12% fewer summer flights, according to data tracker Cirium, primarily because of a lack of pilots, and US leisure destinations are proving to be the most sought-after spots on Earth. All of this translates to far more air travelers than there are airplane seats. This has sent summer fares for domestic travel up 25% from pre-Covid levels and 50% higher than last year, according to travel search engine Hopper Inc3.
Whether your summer plans include driving, or flying, hot temperatures are likely in your future. Forecasts through August, for some areas, point to above average temperatures compared to last year. The northern Rockies, Northern Plains and upper Midwest are most likely to swelter in a hotter than average July this year, while the core of August’s anomalous heat is expected from the Great Lakes to northern New England4.
Along with rising summer temperatures, the UV Index5 across the US remain high leading into July. Sun protection is a must throughout the upcoming months, which based on recent data, consumers are already stocking up. Data for the most recent week ending 5/15/22 posted strong, cross-channel, 33% growth (+$14.2M) for the sun protection and tanning lotion subcategory. Naturally positioned products, which represent 17% of the week’s sales, grew the fastest and contributed more than its fair share (+25%) to the overall growth of the segment. While naturally positioned products remain small in comparison to their conventional counterparts, the growth signals some consumers are shifting towards ‘cleaner’ sun blocking alternatives.
Other summer essentials, beyond sunscreen, include water, frozen desserts, and alcohol. With the sweltering heat, it’s important to stay hydrated. All shelf stable water segments posted growth for the most recent 4 weeks ending 5/22/22. Shelf stable non-carbonated flavored water products, representing 5.7% ($83M) of water sales, grew the fastest at 24% versus the same time last year. Top growing flavors included, fruit blend/mix (18.3%), assorted (25.9%) and tropical (71.9%).
Another way consumers seem to be beating the already present heat, include enjoying frozen desserts. Within this category, frozen novelties, frozen plant based novelties and frozen sorbet, were the only frozen dessert subcategories posting growth. Fozen novelties and frozen sorbet growth was widespread across all product positioning groups, while frozen plant based novelties’ growth came solely from conventional positioned products. Assorted (+5.6%) and vanilla (+1.4%) were the top flavors for frozen novelties. Vanilla (+10.3%) was also a top performing flavor for frozen plant based novel, along with caramel (+15.5%). Within frozen sorbet, refreshing fruity flavors, such as raspberry (+15.4%) and mango (+28.2%) are winning among consumers.
Total US, SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel + SPINS Conventional Channel (powered by IRI) | 4 weeks ending 5.22.2022 | Dessert subcategories ranked by sales volume (High to low)
At the end of a long summer day, sometimes there is nothing better than kicking back and reaching for an alcoholic beverage to unwind from the long hot day. While alcohol is down (-3.4%) for the most recent 4 weeks, there were some bright spots that seem to resonate with consumers leading into summer months. Subcategories such as hard cider (+31.5%) and RTD cocktails (16.1%) posted strong growth for 4 weeks ending 5/22/22. The refreshing cool crisp notes of the cider and convenience of RTD cocktails, make them the perfect summertime choice.
Stay cool, hydrated and cheers to summer!
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