John Lewis has said 2018 was one of toughest years for retail as it reflected on the year’s shopping trends in the latest edition of its annual retail report.
The department store chain said the retail sector faced challenges thanks to difficult trading conditions and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
John Lewis’ report also looked back at shopping trends, including highlighting products that fell out of favour and those that soared in popularity.
The alarm clock was one of the year’s casualties with sales down 16 per cent as people replaced them with their smartphones.
Meanwhile, sales of small TVs were in decline, and sales of DVD players were down a whopping 40 per cent due to the increasing popularity of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The report also highlighted how big events had an impact on shopping trends.
The World Cup was the driving force behind the 249 per cent increase in sales of 60” TVs and an 87 per cent sales boost of corner sofas.
On the other hand, the royal wedding drove fashion sales, especially the Mulberry Darley bag which saw a 327 per cent sales increase after Meghan Markle was spotted carrying it.
Meanwhile, the Beast from the East drove a 63 per cent rise in sales of boots in February and March and the summer heatwave sent sales of inflatables skyrocketing 316 per cent.
This year also saw an increase in shoppers splashing out on eco-friendly water bottles and vegan beauty products.
The report also indicated that shoppers were becoming increasingly personal in their purchases, proven through the rise of quirky, eye-catching homewares and furtunitre pieces or bespoke beauty products.
John Lewis added that more customers than ever are shopping on their smartphone instead of a desktop or tablet, and that for the first time, the majority of online shoppers visited the retailer’s website via their smartphone.
“It is fascinating to see what trends our customers have fallen in and out of love with this year and how big events like the World Cup and the Royal Wedding have such a significant impact on what we buy,” John Lewis trading director Simon Coble said.
“How we shop is changing at incredible speed and shops need to combine the very best in service and experiences with unique and fantastic products. And the mobile phone is vital in both as a means to browse and research but also as a place to buy.
“Identity was a major theme across all shopping trends this year and it is no coincidence that the idea of identity is central to John Lewis’s long-term plans – our strategy is firmly about dialling up what makes us different so that we remain relevant.
“It is our job not only to celebrate what makes us stand out as a business but also to help our customers celebrate everything that makes them unique too.”