Heatwave Hotspots: The Impact of Rising Temperatures on Businesses in Pasadena, CA

Recently temperatures rose across Southern California for the second time since the initial heatwave weekend following the July 4th holiday. We decided to use our mobile location data to  analyze how hot weather impacts visits to local businesses. To do this, we looked at the percent increase/decrease in foot traffic to movie theaters, coffee shops, and restaurants in Pasadena from the weekend prior to the July 6 heatwave through the weekend after. When comparing to the average traffic observed in the weekends before and after the heatwave, we found some compelling insights.

More people visit movie theaters

While there were some compelling movies showing that weekend, visits were more likely driven by air conditioning rather than the appeal of the latest blockbuster. Overall, movie theaters saw a 6% increase in foot traffic during the weekend when compared to the average foot traffic of non-heatwave weekends.

When looking at each day over the weekend, our data reveals a delay between the increase in daily temperature and the increase in visitation. It wasn’t until Sunday, a few days into the heatwave, that theaters saw a significant change in visitation. Pasadena theaters saw a 20% increase in foot traffic on the Sunday during the heatwave when compared to the average Sunday.

Coffee shops slow down

Coffee shops saw a steady decline in foot traffic over the heatwave, with a 10% decrease in foot traffic overall when compared to the average weekend. Saturday was especially hard for coffee shops, as they saw a 28% drop in visitors when compared to the amount of visitors seen on the average Saturday.

During the peak of the heatwave, restaurants saw more patrons

Restaurants were a mixed lot. The onslaught of the heatwave brought a wave of visitors staying out of the heat of the kitchen. Restaurants in Pasadena saw a 11% increase in visitation during the peak of the heatwave when compared to the previous/following Fridays. Although it stayed warm throughout the weekend, Saturday saw 30% less visitors than the average.

There are countless unforeseen circumstances that can impact how many patrons visit a business on any given day. While we can’t change the weather, we can help coordinate with businesses to adjust their strategies based on the actual performance of their unique locations in relation to real world events.