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Looser lines, midis and leopard trend at John Lewis; Fleabag, Peaky Blinders also key

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today Oct 16, 2019
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John Lewis’s latest report on shopper trends shows its customers have been opting for longer, midi-length hemlines and looser silhouettes as well as comfortable underwear in the last year. And minimalist beauty has taken centre stage “as customers embraced their natural radiance rather than covering up with heavy make-up”.


Longer hemlines and easy silhouettes have been key at John Lewis in the last year



The company also said it was the year in which customers decluttered, investing in storage and doing away with crammed cupboards and overcrowded shelves “as the Marie Kondo craze swept the nation”. 

On the accessories front, despite clutch bags being a big story in luxury, it’s interesting that the company removed clutch bags from its own-brand womenswear accessories range, which it relaunched this summer, after sales had fallen 61%.

And as mentioned, comfort was key when it came to underwear with luxe loungewear sales rising 129% and sales of suspenders down 8% on the year.

And the desire for quality was also a trend as shoppers invested in quality fabrics when it came to updating their wardrobes. Animal print continued to be key too, with sales of leopard print up 333% and snakeskin and zebra also proving popular with surges of 241% and 230%.

In fact, print was a big story generally with sales of printed dresses at John Lewis rising 20.4%. Meanwhile culottes/wider-leg cropped pants were key items as sales rose 51%.

Sales were affected by cult TV as the return of Fleabag and Peaky Blinders saw higher demand for black jumpsuits (up 66%) and flat caps (up 25%). And in sports, the Women’s World Cup drove sales of sports headbands.

John Lewis also said that shopping on the go became even more essential for its customers, “as the bus ride or coffee break provided ample time for browsing”. Visits to its website from mobiles grew by 54%, and 57% of its online orders used its Click & Click option for speed and convenience.

As mentioned earlier, a key change was that beauty went minimal, driven by social media trends. Customers moved away from heavy foundations and dramatic contouring and opted for tinted moisturisers and lightweight setting powders.

The company also said that skincare-awareness drove a 26% increase in sales of SPF moisturisers and that the launch of luxury hair tool, the Dyson Air Wrap, saw it selling 15,000 units last Christmas.

Another trend was sustainability with its customers choosing to cut down on their plastic use. Travel mugs, lunch boxes and portable cutlery became daily essentials with many customers owning multiple reusable water bottles dependent on their need, such as one for the gym, one for work and one for “on the move”. 

When it comes to declining trends, the retailer stopped selling drones this year after the earlier UK airport disruption, while it also saw plunging sales of static telephones as mobile took over, and of camcorders as consumers used their phones to shoot video.

Other falling categories included mantel clocks (replaced by voice-activated speakers) and cocktail shakers that suffered as artisan tonics rose in popularity.

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