Press releases

What we bought and why in a year that was full of surprises

Monday 24 October 2016

The John Lewis Retail Report reveals how Britons responded to twelve months of political, cultural and economic shake-up by making brave statements of self-expression and embracing escapism.

The fourth annual John Lewis Retail Report* launches today, unveiling how Britain's homes, wardrobes and lives changed in the last twelve months of twists and turns that included Brexit, a new PM, the passing of two global music icons, Britain's stratospheric victory at Rio and snow in April.

Twelve months of unpredictable weather

The report's analysis of 12 months of John Lewis sales reveals that the weather had a huge impact on what customers bought and when:

  • A mild January saw strong sales of lightweight linen.
  • Snow in April meant sales of scarves, faux fur throws and slippers rose 41%, 200% and 300% respectively.
  • An unseasonably cool early summer led to a 13% rise in ladies' thermal underwear purchases.
     

Brave, not beige

In this year of unexpected weather and events, Britons also shook things up in their homes and wardrobes, with bold, attention-grabbing purchases:

  • Sales of bold, abstract printed dresses soared in womenswear, increasing 168%.
  • Clashing prints made a statement in the home – with multi-coloured hummingbird wallpaper increasing in sales 94% and patterned china 52%.
  • Eye-catching flamingos emblazoned everything from cups and cushions to wallpaper and fairy lights. Searches for 'flamingo' increased 200% on johnlewis.com.
  • Gold pineapples made a quirky style statement. The retailer sold 70 a day at the height of their popularity.
     

Simple pleasures helped Brits escape the chaos

This year the nation looked for ways to physically and metaphorically escape the confusion and enjoy the more whimsical side of life:

  • Our Kuoni travel agents saw a 40% rise in long haul holidays.
  • Sales of our portable mobile phone chargers soared over 200% in July as people distracted themselves by hunting for Pokemon.
  • The week after Brexit, Sipsmith Gin sales increased 103%, suggesting Brexiteers celebrated while pro-EU voters drank away their sorrows.
     

The year of the avocado

However unfamiliar the outside world became, the nation did not falter in its quest to live and eat well. 2016 was also the year of the avocado, with searches for avocado-related products 85% higher than last year, while refillable water bottles were everywhere, with our sales increasing 35%.

What was left behind

As usual, the report provides a glimpse of products falling from favour. This year these included big hats (replaced by disc-shaped fascinators), selfie sticks (with searches online dipping 50% compared to last year), CD and DVD storage (as on-demand entertainment services replace CD and DVD collections) and alarm clocks (declining 9% compared to last year).

Home tech gets smarter

This was also the year when home technology raised its game, with an increasing range of connected products making it possible to remotely control more items in the house than ever before.

  • Searches for smart home products on johnlewis.com were up 670%
  • John Lewis saw an 81% increase in sales of smart home products.
     

*The John Lewis Retail Report is created every year and is based on its shopping data from August 2015 to September 2016.

Download a copy of The John Lewis Retail Report 2016 - How we Shop, Live & Look (PDF size 5.5MB).


Notes to editors

John Lewis - John Lewis operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK (34 department stores, 12 John Lewis at home and shops at St Pancras International and Heathrow Terminal 2) as well as johnlewis.com. It is part of the John Lewis Partnership, the UK's largest example of worker co-ownership and all 30,000 John Lewis staff are Partners in the business. John Lewis  'Best In-Store Experience 2016', 'Best Clothing Retailer 2016,' 'Best Electricals Retailer 2016,' 'Best Furniture Retailer 2016,' 'Best Homewares Retailer 2016' and 'Best Click & Collect Retailer 2016'1, typically stocks more than 350,000 separate lines in its department stores across fashion, home and technology. Johnlewis.com stocks over 280.000 products and is consistently ranked one of the top online shopping destinations in the UK. John Lewis Insurance offers a range of comprehensive insurance products - home, car, wedding and event, travel and pet insurance and life cover - delivering the values of expertise, trust and customer service expected from the John Lewis brand.

1Verdict Consumer Satisfaction Awards 2016

You can follow John Lewis on the following social media channels:
www.johnlewis.com/twitter
www.johnlewis.com/facebook
www.johnlewis.com/youtube.


General information

For further information please contact:

Emma Cole
Communications Officer, John Lewis
Telephone: 020 7798 3829
Email: emma.l.cole@johnlewis.co.uk