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Gloucestershire Business News

John Lewis spots the trends in a year of lockdown

Research from John Lewis - which has a store in Cheltenham - reveals that among the products that defined the last year are tents, air fryers, trampolines and Crocs.

This year's Shop, Live, Look report by the retailer looks back at the products and trends that shaped the year.

Sales of tents were up 650%, air fryers - which simulate deep frying without all the oil - were up 400%, trampolines bounced up by 270%.

The survey found that UK consumers adapted to lockdown by redesigning their living spaces to make way for home offices and exercise equipment, such as Peloton bikes.

Meanwhile, outside space became the 'new inside' as sales of hot tubs, outdoor furniture and accessories soared.

Sales of 2-in-1 laptops - that can also become tablets when their keyboard is detached fell. Conversely, laptops with bigger screens were in demand.

Neck ties - with formalwear not required - were down three quarters. Sales of thongs were down as customers opted for more comfortable and practical underwear.

It was also the year that TV screens became the new shop windows as viewers adopted the fashion and lifestyle trends they watched on shows such as Friends: The Reunion, Line of Duty and Clarkson's Farm.

Despite travel restrictions, swimwear was as in demand as ever this summer - control swimsuits and Speedo briefs were some of the most popular products.

Beauty became all about skin care instead of make-up as people had more time for their wellness routines, and the trend for comfortable nightwear continued.

Meanwhile, the nation fell out of love with filing cabinets, which the store stopped selling this year.

The way people shop has changed too. The website now accounts for between 60% and 70% of sales, up from 40% before Covid. Customers expect flexibility and convenience more than ever before.

Pippa Wicks, Executive Director at John Lewis, said: "The unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 have left a permanent mark on how we shop, live and look. People have become clearer about what matters to them and their work-life balance has shifted towards life."

The retailer launched a furniture rental service with Fat Llama, the peer-to-peer rental marketplace dubbed 'the Airbnb for things'. It offers over 500 products, including beds, desks and bar stools - aimed at 'generation rent'. 86% of the available products were rented out in the first 48 hours.

Modular outdoor sofas sold strongly as people lounged outside. Sales of outdoor rugs rose 50%. Fire pits and garden heaters rose by almost 1,000% in October and November 2020 as lockdown rules restricted meeting to outside.

While sales of suspenders, bustiers and garters were down - by a quarter - sales of more comfortable lingerie and crop top styles rose by similar amounts. It seems that fashion experts were right when, back in early 2020, they predicted that three clothing trends would dominate lockdown: sporty, slouchy and sexy.

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