Customer trends revealed: The household items falling out of fashion

Alarm clocks and traditional door knockers are falling out of fashion as British households increasingly embrace technology, an annual rundown of sales trends from John Lewis suggests.

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 7:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd October 2018, 7:43 am

The department store has reduced its range of alarm clocks by 30% after sales fell by 16% over the last year as people turn to mobile phones for their wake-up call.

Sales of traditional door knockers have fallen by 9% as homeowners invest in smart doorbells with features such as live video streaming and wi-fi-enabled apps.

The store said sales are up 367% since it started selling them in July last year.

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The days of small televisions and DVD players also seem to be numbered, with the most commonly sold screen size doubling to 70in from 2010’s 36in and the rise of streaming services sending sales of DVD players tumbling by 40%.

And while the trouser press may have been cutting edge in the 1960s, sales at the store have fallen 36% in the last year alone.

John Lewis said the year was “one of the toughest retailers have seen” - the partnership reported a 98.8% profits crash for the first half of the year - as uncertainty around Brexit and difficult trading conditions dominated the high street.

However, a number of major events encouraged consumers to keep spending, starting with the football World Cup, when sales of 60in televisions soared by 249%, corner sofas were up 87% and John Lewis sold 40% more barbecues between June 24 and July 14 than usual.

Sales of the Mulberry Darley bag saw a 327% spike after the Duchess of Sussex was pictured carrying one, while her choice of a bright yellow dress for a Your Commonwealth reception in July resulted in sales of yellow dresses quadrupling.

The year’s series of extreme weather events spelt good news for sales of boots, up 63% in February and March, and inflatables, up 316% during the summer heatwave.

In the four months after the final episode of Blue Planet II, sales of reusable coffee cups, travel cups and flasks were up 71% on last year.

The Love Island show also made its presence felt at the high street stalwart, spurring a rush of sales of inflatables and water bottles similar to those featured in the programme.

However, the “biggest surprise” for the retailer was a resurgence in popularity of the thong after years of declining sales, with sales up 72% alongside suspenders, which were up 132%.

Meanwhile, for the first time the majority of online shoppers (42%) visited the John Lewis website via their smartphone, while the number of orders placed on mobile phones increased by 35%.

Simon Coble, trading director at John Lewis & Partners, said: “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.