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John Lewis on the shift ‘towards life’

John Lewis & Partners’ Shop, Live, Look 2021 report reveals how consumers’ work life balance has moved towards ‘life’, including a rejuvenated focus on the home. Published this week, the report talks about the importance of scratch cooking, the rise of ‘tablescaping’, and consumers’ tendency towards more sustainable choices.

“​​The unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 have left a permanent mark on how we shop, live and look,” comments Pippa Wicks, executive director at John Lewis. “People have become clearer about what matters to them, and their work-life balance has shifted towards life. At John Lewis we’ve seen these changes emerge.”

As cooking at home has become a permanent behavioural change for many consumers, John Lewis highlights that its sales of air fryers are up 400% in 2021, listing these among products that define the year.

9- air fryers

The retailer also reveals record sales of cookware (up 23%) as: ‘scratch cooking became the norm over lockdown.’ There has also been greater culinary experimentation as well as increasing confidence as ‘we all became the resident chefs in our own homes.’ As a result, pasta machines and pasta-making accessories saw sales rise by 42%.

Above: Pasta making from scratch has risen to increased demand for pasta machines: illustration from John Lewis & Partners’ Shop, Live, Look 2021 report.
Above: Pasta making from scratch has risen to increased demand for pasta machines: illustration from John Lewis & Partners’ Shop, Live, Look 2021 report.

Over the past year, gardens have been the sanctuary and entertaining space’ for consumers and, importantly, ‘extensions of their kitchens and dining rooms.’ John Lewis & Partners says that sales of pizza ovens are up 195% this year. The report states that: ‘Outside genuinely became the new inside.’

Meanwhile, a vibrant and creative approach to setting the tablehas taken hold of consumers, with no special reason needed for making beautiful display any day of the week. John Lewis reports that ‘sales of coloured dinnerware rose by a third over the year, overtaking demand for white dinnerware.’ Moreover, tablecloth sales soared by 79%, napkins went up a massive 97% and even sales of ‘old school napkin rings increased by 22%’.

Above: Table setting image from John Lewis & Partner’s Instagram page.
Above: Table setting image from John Lewis & Partner’s Instagram page.

As consumers stayed at home due to lockdowns and homeworking, JL reflects: ‘Not only did tablescaping provide a break from the monotony of life but it provided a cheerful focal point to the evening.” The retailer highlights that the #tablescaping hashtag on Instagram has had over 50,000 posts.

John Lewis acknowledges a ‘transference of environmental concerns from the younger generations to the older ones’ as generations have spent more time together at home. The retailer notes changes in behaviour, such as using beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm and an increased focus on composting and recycling.

Above: Still shaking up sales: martini glass sales have been boosted by the iconic film character James Bond (illustration from John Lewis & Partners’ Shop, Live, Look 2021 report).
Above: Still shaking up sales: martini glass sales have been boosted by the iconic film character James Bond (illustration from John Lewis & Partners’ Shop, Live, Look 2021 report).

As our homes became bars, sales of carafes and jugs rose by a quarter, with beer glasses up by a fifth in 2021. However, coinciding with the easing of restrictions, September 2021 has seen an uplift of 50% for sales of martini glasses, influenced by the much-anticipated cinema release of the new Bond movie, No Time To Die.

Noting the popularity of meal kits and restaurant takeaways over the past year, John Lewis & Partners makes predictions for the year ahead, saying: ‘Expect restaurant standard home meals – plus the look and vibe of an actual restaurant, its wine list and perhaps even its staff – to become the norm in the next stage of the takeaway boom.’

The Shop, Live, Look 2021 report also highlights the changes in the way people shop, with sales at JohnLewis.com now accounting for between 60% and 70% of sales, up from 40% before the pandemic, and the extension of its Click and Collect service to over 1,000 locations.

 

Top: Illustration from John Lewis & Partners: the home has become a space for every aspect of life, spilling out into the garden for those lucky enough to have one.

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