John Lewis reveals what’s hot, what’s not and what’s next in housewares

John Lewis & Partners has released its annual Retail Report which looks back on sales trends at the department store group over the past 12 months.

‘How We Shop, Live And Look’ analyses internal shopping data from August 2018 to August 2019 to get an insight into the products which fell out of favour, the trends that soared and the themes which dominated the year.

John Lewis trading director Simon Coble said: “As a destination for customers during key life moments and big decisions, understanding how the nation shops, lives and looks remains at the top of our agenda. This year’s report, our seventh edition, explores how JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out) is revamping our living space, why 2019 was the year of oversized dresses, longer lengths and looser-fitting styles and, of course, what items we left behind.”

According to the retailer, products left behind include:

Cocktail shakers: ‘With artisan tonics dominating drinks trolleys, less customers were reaching for their cocktail shakers.’

Fish kettles: ‘As formal dinner parties fell from favour, we decided to stop selling fish kettles.’

Mantel clocks: ‘Traditionally seen as the centrepiece of a living room, sales of mantel clocks were down 30% as customers ask their voice activated speakers [the time] instead.’

Drones: ‘Following the disruption in UK airports in December 2018, we decided to stop selling drones this year.’

Landlines: ‘With customers preferring to rely solely upon their smartphone to stay in touch with family and friends, we saw sales of landlines down 20% this year, down 45% since 2014.’

Camcorders: ‘Sales of camcorders were down 33% as smartphone cameras enable customers to capture crystal clear quality content.’

Clutch bags: ‘We removed clutch bags from our own-brand womenswear accessories range which we relaunched this summer.’

Suspenders: ‘Comfort was king for customers when it came to undergarments; sales of suspenders were down 8% on the year.’

John Lewis noted: ‘This year was one of generational change for retailers, as uncertainty and instability dominated the high street. [Annual music festival] Glastonbury joined the fight on plastic wastage and banned single-use plastic for the return of the iconic festival. A colourful UK celebrated 50 years of Pride and Brits opted to stay in and binge watch the Women’s World Cup and cult TV.

Products that soared in popularity included:

Reusable water bottles: ‘We saw sales of up 15% in the week running up to the Glastonbury festival. As the government announced a forthcoming ban on sales of plastic straws, cotton buds and drinks stirrers in England, our customers chose to cut down on their own plastic use. Travel mugs, lunch boxes and portable cutlery became daily essentials, with many customers owning multiple reusable water bottles dependent on their need ie one for the gym, one for work and one for ‘on the move’.’

Jumpsuits and flat caps: ‘The return of TV series ‘Fleabag’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’ saw sales of black jumpsuits and flat caps boom respectively, as customers opted to stay in and enjoy a night in front of the telly.’

Sports accessories: ‘Sales of sports headbands and goal posts jumped up as the nation cheered the lionesses on in the Women’s World Cup.’

In terms of shopping trends, John Lewis concluded: ‘It’s all about convenience: shopping on the go became even more essential for our customers, as the bus ride or coffee break provided ample time for browsing. Visits to our website from mobiles grew by 54%, up 12% compared with last year and 57% of online orders used our Click & Click option for fast and convenient pick up.

‘What does the future look like? With the trend for flexible working continuing to evolve, developments in technology and 5G will enable even more of us to be ‘always on’ from wherever we are in the world.

‘Environmental awareness shows no signs of slowing down as more of us are set to turn our hand to urban farming in 2020, and the rental market will continue to boom as consumers opt for fuss-free rental options over property investments.

‘In the kitchen, pressure cookers are set to return to favour following a recent resurgence in the US, and ceilings are due a makeover as customers are utilising this space as a fifth wall for wallpapering.’



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