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Dec 21, 2020
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John Lewis report shows comfort, self-gifting and beauty tech were key this year

Published
Dec 21, 2020

John Lewis has released its 2020 Shop Live Look report and it's one that's even more interesting than usual as it shows exactly what consumers have been buying and obsessing over in the weirdest of all shopping years.


John Lewis



Along with other insights, it said that this was the year in which “we freed ourselves from the tyranny of the waistband and we became comfortable keeping it casual”. 

With many people working from home, sales of loungewear and leggings rose by 1,303%. “And as we eventually ventured back into the world, we brought our joggers with us as sales of loungewear this winter show no signs of slowing down,” it added.

It also said we “shopped online more than ever — and we’re doing it all day long”. Online now accounts for 60-70% of John Lewis sales compared to a pre-pandemic 40% and customers are now shopping during the working day (11am-4pm) rather than their evenings (7pm-10pm)”.

And self-gifting has also been key. “It’s clear that we have been treating ourselves in the run up to Christmas with new TVs, Dyson Airwraps and Apple Airpods in high demand,” it said. “Sales of dresses in shops were also up 529% in the first week of December with many of us preparing to celebrate the festive season in style”. The question is whether those dresses will now be returned as many consumers find that they can't celebrate Christmas in the way they’d expected to due to lockdowns.

Consumers were still influenced by celebrities and TV shows this year and the company said sales of berets soared 65%, a firm favourite of Emily in Paris, on the back of that show.

But many accessory choices were about staying in rather than going out. Keeping cosy was top of the agenda for many in 2020 and sales of slippers grew 48%.

Meanwhile, men’s make-up "went mainstream” following War Paint for Men’s successful pop-up at John Lewis Oxford Street. It launched War Paint for Men online after demand was more than 50% higher than expected in-store.

Other beauty trends include beauty tech. This year, "we took our beauty regime into our own hands and John Lewis saw sales of the MZ Skin Light-Therapy Golden Facial Treatment Device were up 178% in November compared to October".

And the nation’s hands suffered from all that sanitising so nourishing hand cream sales are up 17% since March.

Consumers also stopped buying a lot of products. Lockdowns sent sales of party bags and clutches down 56%, court shoes down 62% and lipstick down 54% (although mascara sales rose).

So what does the company expect to happen in 2021? Well, it's a fairly safe bet, but it's saying that casualisation will continue as loungewear and athleisure continue to be important. 

That's certainly going to happen in the first few months of the year as it looks like lockdowns will continue. But John Lewis also thinks this will be an enduring trend with consumers having become used to comfort this year and being unwilling to give that up even when they get out and about again.

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