Retail’s Newest Enemy: Daylight Savings Time

Thanks to the end of daylight savings, which will cause it to get dark earlier, retailers can expect to see shoppers spend less.

That’s according to a new report from JPMorgan covered by CNBC, which found that consumers spend 3.5 percent less on groceries, gas and retail purchases in the month after daylight savings ends.

"One business owner said she felt the sky was falling that month and was racking her brain about what was happening," said JPMorgan researcher Marvin Monroe Ward Jr.

While the spending decrease may mean more money in consumers' pockets, the researchers found that it hurts retailers more than it helps consumers.

During the study, researchers compared the shopping habits of consumers in Phoenix, which doesn’t have daylight savings time, with those in Los Angeles, Denver and San Diego, all of which set their clocks back over this past weekend. Shoppers reduced spending on gas by around 4.6 percent, spent 4.8 percent less at retailers and spent 5.9 percent less at grocery stores after daylight savings ended.

“This is almost a subconscious thing. The shift in [consumers’] minds is largely consistent with their environment, in this case, less sunshine,” Ward said in the report.

While the time change could hurt consumers’ shopping habits, the National Retail Federation has long been a supporter of the moving the clock each year. Spokesman Craig Shearman said the trade group, which represents retailers in more than 45 countries, “strongly supports” daylight savings time.

Advocates of daylight savings time, which went into effect in 1918, say it actually boosts the economy because it gives consumers more hours during the day to shop. The JPMorgan research seems to refute that notion. However, the research only looks at the 30 days before and after the time change takes effect, so it's not clear whether there is a lasting impact.



New forms of alternative credit and point-of-sale (POS) lending options like ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) leverage the growing influence of payments choice on customer loyalty. Nearly 60 percent of consumers say such digital options now influence where and how they shop—especially touchless payments and robust, well-crafted ecommerce checkouts—so, merchants have a clear mandate: understand what has changed and adjust accordingly. Join PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster together with PayPal’s Greg Lisiewski, BigCommerce’s Mark Rosales, and Adore Me’s Camille Kress as they spotlight key findings from the new PYMNTS-PayPal study, “How We Shop” and map out faster, better pathways to a stronger recovery.