Oct 12, 2021
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Swimwear was big, TV key fashion influencer in last year - John Lewis report

Oct 12, 2021

The latest edition of John Lewis’s annual lifestyle report, Shop, Live, Look 2021, shows UK consumers adapting to lockdowns and changing their indoor spaces accordingly in the past 12 months. They also adapted their outdoor spaces and more hours spent watching TV influenced their fashion choices.

John Lewis

It’s also interesting that even though they couldn’t travel abroad for the majority of the year, “swimwear was as in demand as ever this summer”, the retailer said, with control swimsuits and Speedo briefs some of the most popular products. In fact, Speedos were up 100% at John Lewis and another fashion item that saw a huge spike was Crocs, up as much as 58%.

Many items were in demand due to blockbuster TV shows and these included colourful coats and scarves, influenced by Nicole Kidman in The Undoing that aired in November. The Undoing caused sales of such coats to rise by 49% and online searches for neck scarves increased by 148%. 

In March sales of flared jeans and 70s sunglasses rose on the back of The Serpent, a show about a serial killer in Thailand in the mid-70s. Despite the difficult subject, viewers clearly bought into the 70s look worn by Jenna Coleman in the show. Searches for aviator sunglasses and sales of own-brand And/Or flared jeans rose thanks to The Serpent.

John Lewis also said that waistcoats were big in May as the sixth series of Line of Duty reached its crescendo. Sales of waistcoats rose 114% between May and August and it’s clear the series was behind this trend as prior to it starting, waistcoat sales were down by 75%.

In June, the Friends Reunion created a wave of 1990s nostalgia. Journalist and author Dolly Alderton spotted the resemblance to Rachel Green’s dress in ‘The One Where No One’s Ready’ and a green Whistles dress saw its sales at John Lewis up by 400%.

Then in July, Jeremy Clarkson becoming a farmer on Clarkson’s Farm saw sales of women’s wellington boots increase by 53%.

It wasn’t all about TV though and nightwear was a year-round favourite, influenced simply by the need to be comfortable at home.

But there were also products that saw sales plummeting and these included children's party clothes that fell 27% due to lockdowns, while thong underwear was down 6% in favour of more practical items. The retailer’s And/Or Lingerie line had its biggest ever year, with sales up 6%. But in general for this category, 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.

Make-up bag sales also fell 50%, which brings us to beauty in general. Beauty “became all about skincare instead of make-up as people had more time for their wellness routines”.

Skincare accounted for over a third of all its beauty sales. Online saw almost half a million searches for skincare last year. Customers also became more interested in the ingredients in their products, with vegan and eco-friendly beauty lines remaining popular. By contrast, sales of cosmetics fell by a fifth as people spent more time at home and left their make-up products in the drawer.

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