John Lewis Shop Live Look report examines how we lived, worked, socialised and shopped in an extraordinary year

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John Lewis has released its annual Shop Live Look report which looks back on the last 12 months, revealing how the Covid-19 pandemic reshaped our lives in almost every way.  Based on analysis of extensive internal sales data and shopping trends, the report found that in a year when we couldn’t go out into the world, we brought the world into our homes.  From transforming spare bedrooms into workspaces to turning our gardens into summer holiday destinations, Britons fell back in love with their homes this year. 

The report found: 

  • We truly turned our homes into our castles; reconfiguring our living spaces as offices, schools, gyms and home cinemas.  As the year has progressed, we’re more in love than ever with our homes, treating them to a facelift with nearly 10,000 home design appointments (both virtual and instore) taking place this year and ready-made curtains (+19%) and paint (+33%). We also furnished them with more permanent additions such as hot tubs (newly on sale at John Lewis due to overwhelming demand), as well as gourmet BBQs and garden rooms.
  • We binged-watched our favourite TV shows (sales of TVs up 45%) and the ‘Netflix Effect’ saw sales of items used in its landmark series soar. Sales of chess sets are up 121% as The Queen’s Gambit proved a huge hit, sales of berets rocketed by 65% thanks to the show Emily In Paris, and sales of chintzy floral curtains and patterned upholstery increased by 20% due to The Crown.
  • We freed ourselves from the tyranny of the waistband and we became comfortable keeping it casual. With many of us working from home, sales of loungewear and leggings rose by 1,303%.  And as we eventually ventured back into the world, we brought our joggers with us as sales of loungewear this winter show no signs of slowing down. 
  • Old routines were replaced with new.  Gone were alarm clocks (-38%) waking us up for the daily commute, replaced by longer breakfasts that have stayed with us (espresso makers up 12%).  We sought for new ways to keep the kids entertained and introduced them to the toys of our childhood as Hornby and Scalextric returned to our shelves. Travel was off the agenda (suitcases -69%), as was going “out out” (high heeled shoes -62% and party handbags -56%) but as gyms across the UK closed we embraced home fitness (fitness trackers and smart watches +64% and we launched Peloton concessions in nine of our shops in response to the trend). 
  • We shopped online more than ever – and we’re doing it all day long. Online now accounts for 60-70% of John Lewis sales whereas before the pandemic it was only 40% and customers are now shopping during the working day (11am-4pm) rather than their evenings (7pm-10pm). 
  • 2021 – a baby boom and more love and care for our homes, wellbeing and planet.  As many have predicted, we’re seeing signs of a baby boom next year – with searches for ‘new baby’ on johnlewis.com in December up by 274%.  Wellbeing will continue to take centre stage and we’ll continue to strive for the ultimate night’s sleep. We will also be making informed decisions about who we shop with and their ethical credentials. We are set to continue upgrading our living space and new technology will continue to be in high demand as older laptops and tablets may show signs of wear and tear from constant 9-5 use during the lockdowns. 

Other trends include how we have taken pleasure from the simpler things in life.  We’ve rediscovered the art of letter writing while we’ve been unable to see loved ones, and we’ve recreated holiday vibes in our back gardens. With special occasions and holidays put on hold this year, we have taken a step back and become more tuned into the world around us – from supporting reuse and recycling to sending a little love via online gifts (55% increase in people sending JL.com orders as a gift compared to 2019) and +370% uplift in greeting card sales online.

Simon Coble, trading director of John Lewis, says: “The world is a very different place than it was in January.  This year we stayed in, hunkered down, decked out and spruced up our homes.  At John Lewis, we’ve been quick to change the way we help our customers – from the launch of virtual services bringing our Partners’ expertise directly into their homes to offering them more local and convenient places to pick up their Click & Collect purchases.  While this extraordinary year is drawing to a close, there are many lessons we’ve learned, from embracing time spent with loved ones to enjoying the simpler things in life which will stay with us for the future”