John Lewis will unveil its fifth annual retail report today.
Blackfriar was given a sneaky peak at the much awaited report and found some interesting findings.
Apparently shoppers, faced with economic uncertainty and an eventful year in politics, have tried to cheer themselves up by buying products that help them escape from reality.
This may seem improbable, but shoppers have turned to unicorns and mermaid themed products to help them do this. Meanwhile online searches for pool inflatables increased 99 per cent.
We are not making this up. Maybe Brexit Secretary David Davis could buy a mermaid’s costume and a couple of unicorns. Who knows? It may just work in negotiations with Brussels as nothing else has.
As the complexity of the Brexit negotiations becomes clearer, it appears that a large number of people would rather live in a fantasy world where it just isn’t happening.
John Lewis has labelled 2017 as the year of the unicorn.
The bellwether retailer said the legendary creatures are now emblazoned on everything, from wallets to water bottles, and searches for unicorns have increased by 70 per cent.
Meanwhile searches for mermaid themed products rose 22 per cent on last year.
The report said “a touch of the exotic and the fantastic helped people escape from the serious side of life”.
“Unicorn and mermaid-themed products and giant inflatables in the shape of doughnuts, flamingos and watermelons were all on-trend and saw substantial sales,” it stated.
The John Lewis report is always a good indicator of what has gone out of fashion and this year it’s Sat Navs, eReaders, spiralizers, push up bras and office suits for women.
It appears that this isn’t because we’ve rediscovered a love of maps to help us navigate.
The fall in Sat Navs has come about since most new cars have now introduced built-in Sat Navs and many of us are relying on our smartphones to get us from A to B.
John Lewis has gone so far as to say it plans to remove Sat Navs from its stocklist.
The retailer said searches for eReaders declined by 33 per cent compared with last year and sales were down by 23 per cent.
John Lewis said it appears you can’t beat a good old-fashioned book, but Blackfriar would argue that once you have a Kindle you’re not going to bother replacing it with a newer model as there is no point.
Smartphones are constantly evolving whereas a Kindle just allows you to read a book.
Blackfriar suspects half of you are wondering what the hell a spiralizer is. It’s the gadget that was supposed to help you turn courgettes into spaghetti which led to courgette shortages in some supermarkets. It appears we’d rather just eat spaghetti now and sod the calories.
The report said: “The spiralizing craze of two years ago has fizzled out, with online searches down by 53 per cent and sales declining by 40 per cent.”
Apparently the nineties classic push-up bra has also plunged in sales as increasingly, customers favour non-padded options, which saw an uplift in sales of 20 per cent compared with last year.
It also appears that the traditional “office suit” for ladies is becoming a thing of the past, with matching suit jackets and skirts seeing a 10 per cent decline.
John Lewis said menswear saw strong sales of bow ties over the last 12 months as men still dress up for formal occasions. However, the cummerbund is being consigned to the fashion archives, with demand dropping 21 per cent in the last five years. Blackfriar reckons it’s a James Bond thing - men want to look like 007 not like their grandad.
Meanwhile, products that made a return to favour included bookcases, the Rubik’s Cube, record players and filofaxes.
It appears that people are hankering for a fantasy world of unicorns and mermaids or the relative security of the eighties and nineties rather than having to live in the political reality that is 2017.