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The Experience Brands Weekly #159

Trends from the last five years: what we can learn from John Lewis’s latest retail report

Last week John Lewis released its retail report looking at how we shop, live and look – now in its fifth year. As well as plenty of information into the flash-in-the pan trends over the 5 years – from loom bands, to spiralisers and this year’s unicorn (searches for the mythical beast, especially of the inflatable kind, are up 70% on John Lewis’s website this year), the report includes some interesting insights into the way our shopping habits have changed over the last 5 years. With only 3 connected home products on offer in 2013, compared to the 135 available this year, the landscape has definitely shifted.



One of the major trends John Lewis has identified is the desire for experiences – ‘the experience is often as important as the product, with people wanting to treasure memorable moments spent with friends and families in their busy lives.’ This is particularly evident amongst younger people, who are three times as likely to do another leisure activity while they are out shopping and twice as likely to have a beauty treatment while shopping. Glamping, afternoon tea and rural escapes for two topped the list of experiences 18-29 year olds were purchasing.

The other major trend was the increase in shorter, faster buying experiences. In the last year, John Lewis have seen an 69% increase in purchases on smart phones, highlighting the increase in the bite-size shopping experience – the times when we only have a few minutes to spare where they can browse for inspiration or getting something urgent in a couple of minutes. This growth of the shoppers looking for a richer experience – with more memorable experiences as they shop – in parallel with the growth of those looking for a quick and easy purchasing experience in the few minutes they have to spare reflects the trends we are seeing in the wider retail landscape. For example, Amazon’s parallel steps of opening more bricks-and-mortar bookshops and the Amazon Bar, at the same time as their development of the Amazon Go store and constant drive for quicker and easier purchasing journeys. When shoppers have time, they want a richer experience which is more memorable, but they also want to be able to have the bite-size shopping experiences.

Apart from these two macro trends there were some other interesting nuggets – apparently 21:39 is when online dress shopping peaks, we are all focussing more on our home aesthetics as the #shelfie effect continues, and more of us are cooking healthier breakfasts – with fat-free frying pans, avocado tools and egg gadgets all seeing a boost (smashed avocado on toast anyone?). Invisible tech, like wireless headphones, and more sustainable food storage like water bottles, lunch boxes and thermal mugs all saw significant rises. However, it is these two powerful overarching trends of the drive for richer experiences, in parallel with the drive for easier and quicker purchasing journeys are set to dominate for the foreseeable future.


Other Bites:

Amazon Bar

In a world-first for the company, Amazon in launching its own bar in Tokyo today. Open for 10 days in Ginza, an upmarket entertainment and shopping area, it will serve cocktails, wine and sake.


L.L. Bean: Be an Outsider

To bring their ‘Be an Outsider’ campaign to life, L.L. Bean used a print ad in the New York Times. Appearing as a nearly blank space reading ‘Just bring this outside’, when exposed to the elements it revealed the full ‘Be an Outsider’ manifesto. A clever use of photocromic link to communicate their outdoorsy credentials.



Zalando and Google: Gifting Chatbot

Zalando and Google have partnered up to create an AI powered assistant that helps users to find gifts by asking people about the type of present they are looking for and suggesting products. It is currently only available through their app in Germany, but we are likely to see more such collaborations across the world.