In John Lewis’ 2021 How We Shop, Live and Look report, the retailer looked at consumer shopping habits from the past 12 months, revealing that the changes consumers embraced during periods of lockdown are here to stay. It revealed that online sales now account for between 60% and 70% of total sales compared to 40% pre-pandemic. This figure remains the same as it did in 2020’s report, illustrating how consumers had not reduced their online spend even when stores reopened. As lockdown put social lives on pause and more people worked from home, demand for pyjamas and dressing gowns rocketed while the casualties included neck ties (down 75%), briefcases, makeup bags and thongs, which had been enjoying a revival. Staycations also played a factor in spending habits, with sales of tents rising 650% across the past 12 months while travel accessories commonly associated with international travel recorded a drop of sales, with passport covers, travel adaptors and suitcases most affected. With Brits staying closer to home, the renovation boom that began at the outset of the pandemic saw no signs of slowing, with homes also acting as offices and fitness studios.
Sales of fitness equipment surged by 75%. Those with gardens also invested in their outdoor space: trampoline sales rose by 270% across the period, while hot tubs sales grew by 200%. Fire pits and garden heaters rose by almost 1,000% in October and November alone as lockdown rules meant people could only meet outdoors. Skincare accounted for a third of all beauty sales in the recorded period, with John Lewis’ website recording over half a million searches for skincare alone in 2020 alone, according to the retailer. Consumer awareness of what they were putting on their skin also rose as vegan and eco-friendly products gained popularity. Sales of makeup products declined by a fifth due to limited opportunities for getting glammed up. The retailer also revealed it would no longer sell filing cabinets as storage has become more digital.