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February 25, 2019

AccuWeather Correctly Predicts 2018 Holiday Sales Would See Lower Bump than National Retail Federation Estimates

AccuWeather's D3 Data Driven Decisions predictive analytics model includes the influence of weather in addition to purely economic indicators and proved most accurate in predicting holiday sales outcomes for the second consecutive year.

Dr. Joel Myers: "Once again, the integration of our weather data into business analytics, such as our holiday retail forecast, delivers a result with Superior Accuracy..."

AccuWeather Global Weather Center - February 25, 2019 - To cap a year in which the Superior Accuracy™ of its weather forecasts was reconfirmed by an independent third party, AccuWeather most accurately predicted that US holiday retail sales would experience lower gains than those estimated by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Unlike the NRF, the AccuWeather annual holiday shopping forecast includes the influence of weather in its algorithms.

Both AccuWeather, the largest and fastest-growing weather media company and global leader in weather-related big data, business and predictive analytics, and the NRF correctly predicted retail and online holiday sales would increase over 2017 holiday sales for the months of November and December 2018. However, AccuWeather stood alone in accurately predicting that retail and online sales would fall short of NRF estimates, which projected increases of between 4.3 to 4.8 percent or $29.6 billion to $33 billion over 2017 holiday spending. Actual holiday retail spending in 2018 was up only 2.9 percent, which represents a year over year increase of $19.6 billion according to NRF. AccuWeather most closely matched this figure with its estimate of a $28 billion increase in 2018 holiday sales.

The NRF, which obtains its numbers from the US Department of Commerce, and other retail industry trade leaders, projected 2018 would experience the biggest retail sales gains in six years.

While much of the rest of the US was projected by AccuWeather to experience normal temperatures and one- or two-day storms typical for November and December, AccuWeather Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Joel N. Myers said colder temperatures than last year during this period in some parts of the country, in addition to the sharp drop in the stock market that was occurring at the time, might make shoppers a little more cautious. In fact, the NRF said after the fact in its post-season official report, "The combination of financial market volatility, the government shutdown and trade tensions" in addition to other factors caused a "trifecta of anxiety and uncertainly impacting (holiday) spending."

"Once again the integration of our weather data into business analytics, such as our annual holiday retail forecast, delivers a result with Superior Accuracy because, as we know, weather impacts everything we do, and our weather data is proven to be most accurate," said Dr. Myers.

"Every year, both in-store and online retailers consult sources such as NRF to guide holiday inventory, staffing and product selections and then cross their fingers, hoping for the best result in matching predicted consumer behaviors. By including weather as a factor in our proprietary predictive models, AccuWeather is better able to present a strategic big picture of the impact of expected weather conditions on businesses, including retail."

AccuWeather's holiday sales forecast considers the additional impact of weather conditions and weather forecasts on each year's holiday shopping. Most holiday sales estimates look solely at economic trends without any consideration of weather, a variable that drives decision-making and planning for virtually every activity. AccuWeather has found that approximately 25 percent of the change in national holiday sales each year can be explained by weather. The AccuWeather model, developed by AccuWeather's D3 Data Driven Decisions analytics group, incorporates weather forecasts based on the largest and most complete collection of weather data globally, as well as economic indicators and historical shopping trend data.

For example, in its holiday sales forecast released November 2018, AccuWeather correctly predicted cold weather in the east would dampen sales slightly on "Black Friday," the Friday immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday, and predicted there would be some storms in the west, which would lead to some mudslides in the burn areas impacted by the wildfires in California and cause a dip in some holiday spending.

The AccuWeather holiday shopping forecast also proved to be more accurate than NRF in its 2017 holiday forecast prediction. AccuWeather projected a 4.2 percent increase in 2017 holiday retail sales over 2016 holiday spending, which proved more accurate than the NRF prediction of a 3.6 to 4 percent increase.

Businesses in the retail sector and other industries rely on AccuWeather's D3 Data Driven Decisions service for predictive analytics that enable businesses to proactively benefit from changes in the weather and to eliminate interruptions and losses. The service translates historical weather data and other complex data models into customized, actionable insights that help people make the best decisions, all the way down to the level of individual stores.

"Our models show that for every degree increase of maximum average temperature for the country above the previous year, an increase of 0.358 percent from previous holiday sales also occurs," said AccuWeather Expert Data Scientist Tim Loftus.

As the No. 1 weather app worldwide, AccuWeather continues to add new features that help users by delivering the best, most actionable information about the weather that affects their daily lives-for example, the app's exclusive AccuWeather WinterCast® feature, which forecasts probable amounts of snow at a user's exact location in addition to showing the range of possibilities for a storm so people can better prepare in advance of adverse conditions.

By providing forecasts and warnings verified for their Superior Accuracy™ across all major platforms, including both digital and traditional media, AccuWeather helps save more lives, keeps more people safe, and helps people and companies plan more effectively in all weather conditions.

In the most comprehensive study of forecast accuracy ever undertaken, AccuWeather was overwhelmingly reconfirmed by independent industry tracker ForecastWatch as the world's most accurate source of weather forecasts in the categories tested-precipitation, wind, and high-temperature forecasts.

More importantly, AccuWeather forecasts have superior value that goes well beyond what is demonstrated in this and all other independent forecast accuracy comparisons. The reasons for this are numerous. First, AccuWeather forecasts are more localized than other sources. Further, they are more detailed and extend further into the future. For example, the independent verification by ForecastWatch was based on comparing all New York City forecasts, but AccuWeather provides further detail for 279 neighborhoods within New York City and most other sources do not, which means AccuWeather delivers Superior Accuracy not even captured in study after study of statistical forecast accuracy comparisons.

Another advantage is AccuWeather MinuteCast®, which gives accurate, minute-by-­minute forecasts of precipitation up to two hours ahead with start and stop times. In fact, the ForecastWatch study concluded that AccuWeather's probability of precipitation forecasts, which are key to AccuWeather MinuteCast forecasts, were 21 percent more accurate than those of the next-ranked provider and 23 percent more accurate than the average of all other sources.

This powerful combination of accuracy and detail, both in location and time, make AccuWeather forecasts many times more valuable than any other source and helps users make the very best weather-related decisions, especially handy during the harsh winter months.

About AccuWeather, Inc. and AccuWeather.com

AccuWeather, recognized and documented as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world has saved tens of thousands of lives, prevented hundreds of thousands of injuries and tens of billions of dollars in property damage. With global headquarters in State College, PA and other offices around the world, AccuWeather serves more than 1.5 billion people daily to help them plan their lives and get more out of their day through radio, television, newspapers, smart phones, tablets, connected TVs, the AccuWeather Network and AccuWeather.com. Additionally, AccuWeather produces and distributes news, weather content, and video for more than 180,000 third-party websites. Among AccuWeather's many innovative and award-winning features available free to the public are MinuteCast® Minute by Minute™ forecasts with Superior Accuracy™. Furthermore, AccuWeather serves more than half of the Fortune 500 companies and thousands of businesses globally. Dr. Joel N. Myers, Founder, President and Chairman, established AccuWeather in 1962 and is considered the "father of modern commercial meteorology." Dr. Myers, a leading creative thinker and visionary, has been named "the most accurate man in weather" by The New York Times and one of the top entrepreneurs in American history by Entrepreneur's Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurs.

The AccuWeather app for Android phone and tablet users is free at the Google Play store. The AccuWeather iOS app is free at www.AppStore.com. Visit accuweather.com for additional information.

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