Brands are set to benefit from a surge in ‘slumber shopping’ – or shopping when we should be sleeping – as the weather gets warmer this summer.

The research, from The Trade Desk reveals that overnight internet traffic shot up by a fifth (19%) during last year’s biggest heatwave, compared to the average traffic for the same period four weeks before.

The research found that during last year’s heatwave:

  • Overnight traffic increased a fifth (19%)
  • Regionally, London had the biggest increase in internet traffic (49%), followed by Manchester (44%) and Sheffield (42%)
  • Sector-wise, brands related to education, careers, and family and parenting saw the biggest impact

The trend was most pronounced in London, which saw an increase in internet traffic of approximately 49%, followed by Manchester (44%), Sheffield (32%) and Nottingham (28%) – suggesting these cities are most receptive to brand messages during uncomfortably hot conditions.

Brands related to education and careers stand to have the biggest impact. During the heatwave in July 2017, the audience for those verticals increased by 88% and 95% respectively – as consumers used those restless early hours to rethink their life plans. Likewise, 90% more users were online and presented with ads from family and parenting brands, no doubt being kept awake by young children struggling with the heat.

The audience for food and drink ads was over a third (36%) bigger, while personal finance brands also experienced an uplift, with 15% more users online - indicating that ‘slumber shopping’ is the optimum time for grocery shopping and life admin.

Commenting on these insights, Sacha Berlik, Managing Director for EMEA at The Trade Desk, said: “Heatwaves present the perfect opportunity for brands to engage an inflated audience of bored and frustrated consumers with helpful or inspiring messages – as many people turn to their phones or laptops when high temperatures leave them tossing and turning. Yet external factors such as the weather are often overlooked, with campaign spend being allocated long before the sun starts shining. I have no doubt that the advertisers that are flexible and set some budget aside to accommodate the unexpected will get the biggest bang for their marketing buck this summer.”

Through its smart technology, The Trade Desk enables brands to target consumers by temperature in real time and serve the most appropriate messages exactly when the right weather strikes.


The Trade Desk analysed online traffic and click through rates (CTR) for online adverts in the UK over the heatwave from 17thJune – 22nd June 2017. The data was split by time of day and vertical, to identify spikes in temperature, with ‘overnight’ between midnight and 6am. The spikes were then compared to the average CTR for each vertical.