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March 21, 2017

Brace yourselves! It may be March, but spring was most definitely not in the air as Winter Storm Stella rolled into New York City on March 14, bringing with her an icy blast of snow, sleet, and gusty wind.

Stock Up or Ship Out

As New Yorkers prepared to hunker down, cozy up, and wait out Mother Nature’s frosty fiesta, Wazers made sure they had everything they needed for their not-so-typical snow day. Navigations to supermarkets and grocery stores on March 13 increased by 80 percent compared to an average Monday. Indeed, the threat of a potentially historical blizzard drove a pre-apocalyptic frenzy at some markets as people rushed to stock up on essentials.

While most New Yorkers prepared to weather the storm at home, some intrepid snowbirds seemingly refused to let Stella cramp their style. In fact, even though hundreds of flights were canceled across the NYC area, March 13 saw a 30 percent increase in navigations to airports compared to a typical Monday. Go figure!

Snow Day Fun for (Almost) Everyone

The numbers don’t lie. (Well . . . most of them!) While meteorologists may have missed the mark with their high snowfall predictions, Waze data reveals that New Yorkers were taking no chances. The total number of Waze navigations in the city dropped by as much as 93 percent on Tuesday morning as Stella swept into the five boroughs. With official announcements urging residents to stay indoors and schools closed across the city, only a few courageous drivers took to the snowy streets. The city’s roads remained quiet for much of the day until approximately four p.m. when the blizzard started to fizzle out, and a progressively large number of stir-crazy drivers began to venture forth.

New York Drives on Snow Day (Waze Data 03-14-2017)

What Does This Mean For Marketers?
  • Bad weather makes for good opportunity. Knowing that navigations increase to businesses in anticipation of a storm offers an opportunity for brands to come to consumers' rescue with relevant products and offers.
  • Consider the context of someone coming to your business when conditions are challenging. Reward customers for choosing your brand during the storm by upping rewards on loyalty programs.
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