Oct 23, 2018
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Brights, leopard, Love Island and vegan beauty are top trends says John Lewis

Oct 23, 2018

John Lewis has released its annual report looking at what UK consumers have shopped in the last 12 months and it shows a country opting for brighter, bolder colours, embracing leopard print, jumpsuits, Love Island and vegan beauty products.

Bright colour was a key trend in the past year - John Lewis

The royal wedding and all-things-Meghan were key inspirations and sales of the Mulberry Darley bag shot up 327% after she was spotted carrying it. And in the week she wore a bright yellow dress, yellow was John Lewis’s most searched colour while yellow dress sales quadrupled overall. Meanwhile in the month of the wedding, sales of occasion-wear hats rose 33%, while wedding and bridal jewellery was up by 30%.

Extreme weather also had an impact with sales of boots up 63% in February and March while hats and scarves rose 20%. In the hot summer, flip flop sandal sales rose 30%.

The Love Island effect also came into play and again spurred a rush in sales of inflatables and water bottles, like the ones featured in the program. But the biggest surprise, after years of declining sales, was that the thong was back with sales up 72%, alongside suspenders which were up 132%. Colourful men’s swimming shorts also proved popular, and John Lewis’s range of recycled swimmers was up 33%. Sales of the BlueBella range, a brand which collaborated with last year’s Love Island winner Amber Davies, were up 250% ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Interestingly too, whether it was celebrating diversity or making a fashion statement, the rainbow was a popular trend this year and an instant mood booster. The Rachel Ellen rainbow range was up 38%.

Leopard was a popular print and was seen on everything from boots to scarves to dresses. The retailer’s Somerset leopard print dress was a best-seller. 


Looking at colour, as we’ve seen, yellow was strong but not only because of instant reactions to what Meghan Markle wore. Yellow saw a 34% increase for women overall, but orange rose an even better 68%, pink 26% and gold a massive 124%. For men, yellow rose 92%, khaki 45%, pink 29% and orange 13%. And with trainers accounting for 15% of the shoe assortment, men’s white trainer sales were up 53%.

Standout items included women’s jumpsuits that were up 61% with “jumpsuit” overtaking “dress” as the biggest searched-for item. Athleisure also got smarter as female shoppers paired the trainer with business dress, while men’s Hawaiian shirts sold out in eight weeks.

And it’s worth noting that on the beauty front, veganism spilled across from food to beauty this year with vegan beauty growing by 12% at John Lewis compared to 5% for the total beauty market. The full Pai range is vegan and its sales were up 310%. The brand’s hero rosehip oil product was up 467%. 

Leopard print remains a powerful trend - John Lewis

Acids were also seen as they year’s miracle ingredient, with hyaluronic acid products seeing a 94% increase in sales and glycolic acid up 275%. Ren’s new Glow Tonic was the bestseller by far and is the retailer’s most popular acid product.

As well as what was trending up, the report also shows what fell out of favour during the year and the cold shoulder dress, which was a big trend in the prior year, lost out to the shirt dress this time, falling 15%.

And one final interesting point, John Lewis said that this was the year of shopping on the move as smartphones continued their rise, reducing the importance of desktop and tablet as the most convenient way for people to browse and shop. Shoppers still liked to make bigger, more considered purchases via desktop but it was clear that mobile is catching up in this area, with 21% of sales made on the move, up 16% from this time last year.

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