Trees & flowers aren’t the only things in bloom – spring means consumer spending comes out of its post-holiday hibernation, too! Fans drop big bucks on tickets, snacks, and team apparel for March Madness, then again for the start of baseball season;  meanwhile, homeowners get help from contractors to complete all the projects that have piled up around the house during the winter months, and cooped up college kids work out post-exam stress by traveling to sunny locales to let loose for Spring Break. It seems that an increase in spending is yet another effect of Spring Fever!

Psssht! you think. Spring Fever isn’t real! But after months of being cooped up in the house, I beg to differ – and do does Wikipedia, which defines spring fever as “a term applied to several sets of physical and psychological symptoms associated with the arrival of spring. In general it refers to an increase in energy [and] vitality.” These “symptoms”  are due to seasonal changes in production of seratonin, a.k.a.,  the “happiness hormone.” Seratonin levels drop in the winter, because the hormone depends on sunlight for production – and winter is notoriously lacking in sunlight! When the longer, clearer days and warmer temperatures of spring arrive, our bodies readjust and seratonin production kicks into gear.

Add to increased seratonin the excitement that surrounds springtime. Sports fans – and people who haven’t watched a basketball game all season tune in to hours of basketball games and furiously complete their brackets (I’ll admit: I choose my bracket’s winning teams by which team’s uniforms I like best). Office bracket pools, popular at many businesses, may be great for community-building & employee morale, but Challenger, Gray & Christmas estimate that the 50 million or so Americans participating in such pools cost companies a total of $1.2 billion for every unproductive work hour during the first week of the tournament alone! Regardless, fans cheer on the underdogs and Cinderella teams – often at restaurants, bars, and pubs that offer viewers great beer and food specials to drive big business. Our RSVP headquarters is near Dayton, OH, which has hosted the first four games since 2001. UD arena explodes with fans from all over the country, and the first round games generated more than $4.5 million in revenue for the area in 2013. March Madness will soon give way to the frenzy of baseball, as spring training sprung with great fanfare (including famous goofball Will Ferrell joining various teams on the field). Some lucky fans even follow their favorite teams to spring training, enjoying some warm destination far from home. Baseball’s Opening Day festivities herald more than the start of the season – they also welcome the increase in fan spending on merchandise, concessions, and tickets – not to mention all of the local companies that flock to where the fans congregate. Baseball season is a real home run for businesses!

But sports teams & gameday hotspots aren’t the only ones seeing green (that’s dollars – not vegetation). Home improvement contractors experience a surge in springtime business, thanks to homeowners who spent the winter months scrutinizing their homes and killing time daydreaming on Pinterest. They have a list of projects around the house a mile long – and contractors are ready to help them cross off items on the “honey-do” list. Homeowners also swarm the multitude of  spring home improvement shows hosted in cities everywhere, looking for more ideas & the right contractor to help make dreams a reality. For just a few dollars, home show attendees can enjoy celebrity guests, specialized markets, and products demos that will get their creative juices flowing, and dialing fingers itchy to call up contractors for estimates & appointments. The Home Improvement Research Institute predicts a 5.8% sales growth in 2015 – increasing to $318 billion dollars. BILLION. With a “B.” That is great news for contractors & homeowners alike!

Maybe warmer temperatures haven’t quite settled in near you – I know of friends in neighboring states who got pummeled by snow mere days after enjoying sunny, 70-degree days! I imagine they felt like Clark Griswold, cooped up in their snowy home, but dreaming of the warm weather they just had.

If temps near you haven’t started climbing just yet (or started but just won’t stay up!), maybe it’s time to get away from it all. Why waste your shortened days stuck in the miserable, snowy, gray weather? I know you hear the siren call of the warm sandy beaches of the south – so answer it! We sure did – my husband & I took a trip to the Bahamas last week, and let me tell you: we have no regrets. It was wonderful!

heather blog pic

Here we are, about to take a dip!

We aren’t the only ones escaping the daily grind – college students flock to towns throughout the Carolinas, Texas and Florida. Panama City alone counts 200,000 visitors during the spring break season! This fact does not go ignored by corporate marketers; major brands that cater to the youth market (such as Coca-ColaGilletteMTV, and branches of the United States armed forces) are in full-marketing swing at popular spring break destinations. Our Bahama trip proves that a spring break get-a-away is not just for 20-something college kids: this is a great time for young families to plan their trip while their school-aged children are on break from school. We say “Bon voyage!” and cash registers everywhere answer, “Ka-ching!”

Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.