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John Lewis reveals the year's most popular items including Crocs, tents, trampolines and items inspired by the Olympics, Tom Daley and Line of Duty


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Tents, air fryers, trampolines and Crocs are among the products to have rocketed in demand during the last 12 months.

Sales of hot tubs, outdoor furniture, pizza ovens and garden accessories have also soared, says John Lewis, which has today released its findings into what has been most popular and what has not, over the course of the last year.

Popularity in items to enjoy in the great outdoors have risen in the last year
Popularity in items to enjoy in the great outdoors have risen in the last year

As the pandemic and its lockdowns left many of us spending more time at home than ever before, it's perhaps no surprise that items on the up during 2021 has included home fitness equipment, furniture and technology to recreate office environments and of course comfortable slippers!

While sales of neck ties as staff made fewer trips to the office fell by three quarters and the department store stopped selling filing cabinets as storage went digital and demand dramatically fell away.

As more staff worked from home demand for neck ties fell
As more staff worked from home demand for neck ties fell

The retailer's Shop, Live, Look annual report offers a fascinating insight into the products and trends to have shaped the year and how UK shoppers reacted to lifestyle changes driven mostly by the pandemic. Scroll down to take our poll.

With travel restrictions putting a halt to many foreign holiday plans, demand for suitcases, passport holders and travel adaptors fell while sales of tents leapt more than 600% as families embraced UK-based trips and holidays much closer to home.

Tent sales soared as UK-based breaks became more popular
Tent sales soared as UK-based breaks became more popular

Beauty sales, says John Lewis, became more about skincare than cosmetics and make-up as people's social lives were put on hold and adults had less reason to dress up and go out.

While more time was subsequently devoted to wellness routines, outdoor pursuits and fitness, with the trend for comfortable nightwear and loungewear also showing no signs of going anywhere just yet.

As we stayed closer to home demand rose for garden furniture and trampolines
As we stayed closer to home demand rose for garden furniture and trampolines

Children's party clothes also took a similar hit as families found fewer opportunities to go out and about, instead investing in outdoor play equipment such as trampolines, which suddenly found themselves in high demand across the country.

And if slippers have become the chosen footwear for comfort inside during the last year, it seems Crocs became the convenient go-to outside, with sales for the clog shaped rubber-style shoe rising 58% in the last year.

Sales of fire pits and garden heaters rose almost 1000% as families and friends switched to meeting outdoors, while more and more people wanted to buy outdoor rugs, pizza ovens, barbecues and other dining products as the last year saw the outside genuinely become the new inside.

The way people are now shopping appears to have changed significantly too – with the John Lewis website now accounting for between 60% and 70% of sales – up from 40% before the pandemic.

Pippa Wicks, executive director at John Lewis, said: “The unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021 have left a permanent mark on how we shop, live and look.

"People have become clearer about what matters to them and their work-life balance has shifted towards life."

With more time spent at home and less out and about, television also became the 'new shop window' say retail staff with films and hit programmes dictating our shopping habits, alongside a 146% rise in demand for bigger more high-tech TV screens.

John Lewis says waistcoat sales rose as a direct result of Line of Duty appearing on our screens. Picture: BBC TV.
John Lewis says waistcoat sales rose as a direct result of Line of Duty appearing on our screens. Picture: BBC TV.

Sales of waistcoats, which had been down 75%, suddenly increased by 114% in May and June as Line of Duty fever swept across the country and as the UK moved into summer in July the demand for women's Wellington boots rose by 53%. Despite the warmer weather this is believed to have been in response to the arrival of popular Amazon documentary Clarkson's Farm, which followed the former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson as he took on running his own 1000-acre rural business in the Cotswolds.

As Jeremy Clarkson grappled with running his farm this summer, purchases for Wellington boots rose
As Jeremy Clarkson grappled with running his farm this summer, purchases for Wellington boots rose

Olympic gold medal-winning diver Tom Daley may have also emerged as an unexpected 2021 influencer too, as sales of men's Speedos doubled as athletes took to the pool in Tokyo while in August the demand for needles and wool jumped 90% after the father-of-two was frequently spotted knitting jumpers in the stands in between his diving competitions.

Tom Daley's Olympic knitting inspired a rise in demand for needles and wool
Tom Daley's Olympic knitting inspired a rise in demand for needles and wool

What's new for 2022?

As 2021 draws to a close, staff at the retail giant are already looking ahead to the potential trends and demands from its consumers in the coming year.

John Lewis futurologist, JohnVary, is tasked with predicting potential popular items.

He believes greater consciousness about the planet and climate change will further influence consumers and people's shopping habits while many of us may revert back to audio and photographic technologies of old as we find ourselves 'blinded' by the mass of digital content and equipment that increasingly surrounds us.

To learn more visit the JohnLewis website.

For more news on big brands and good places to enjoy a tasty bite, head to our Eat, Drink, Shop section

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