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08 September 2022
John Lewis, the ‘moment economy’ and what it all means
Department storesUnited Kingdom
John Lewis and Partners, retailer to the British middle class, has identified a shift in consumer attitudes and behaviour away from big experiences and toward providing value in the day-to-day – it is both a reflection of where waves of challenges, COVID and energy prices among them, and the core of the firm’s new strategic direction.
Why it matters
Birthdays, dinner parties, garden gatherings all form part of a trend that John Lewis sees in people anchoring their lives around everyday, often domestic, pleasures rather than major events or holidays.
While velour tracksuits are “taking a breather”, according to the release, hinting that some normality has returned, there are hard times ahead, and that we’ll likely continue to spend a lot of time at home.
Similarly, buried in the research and platform launch is an enhanced focus on the retailer’s own private label items along with a notably value-focussed range in ANYDAY.
It also notes in its research, based on a 5,000-person survey along with its own shopping data, a handful of interesting trends:
More time in nature: Sales of paddleboards and changing robes are up 58%. People are now into wild swimming.
Mondays and Fridays are home days: coffee accessories are up 46% while blazers and formal shoes are up 75% and 93% respectively.
Garden fun: BBQs up 175% and pizza ovens are up 62%. The pandemic-era plant craze has become more practical as 61% of respondents intend to grow their own food.
Weddings were back: hats were up 168%, occasion shoes 38% and bridesmaid dresses 19%.
What it means
Ultimately, it’s about how it changes what it will sell:
The brand will focus on its own brand collections from furniture to clothes.
Store design will be “reimagine[d]” around a more IKEA-style life-like moments.
It will expand its value ANYDAY range.
Can it pull this off? As a smart op-ed in the FT noted, the company appears to have sensed a development of the lipstick effect of small luxuries in times of crisis and an opportunity to sell lower value items at a greater frequency.
But it also might open up a segment of customers that would have done their homeware shopping at IKEA, offering a perception of high quality built through its strong brand and an accessible, city-centre store footprint. It’s unlikely to signal a revolution, but it’s an interesting signal of what might be to come.