John Lewis reveals its hero products of the year

John Lewis reveals its hero products of the year, including corner sofas, pizza ovens, Crocs and trampolines – while filing cabinets, neck ties and thongs are left behind

  • John Lewis has revealed the ‘hero’ products that saw a spike in sales last year
  • Trampolines, hot tubs and pizza ovens were in demand as we socialised outside
  • Sales of briefcases and travel accessories dipped as we spent more time at home

Sales of hot tubs, pizza ovens and corner sofas soared in the last 12 months as we spent more time at home, John Lewis figures reveal. 

The British retail giant has shared the hero products that have ‘defined the last 12 months’ in its annual How We Shop, Live and Look report, with many of the best-sellers reflecting a shift towards greater comfort and more entertaining at home.

Conversely, products like neck ties, briefcases and travel accessories saw a drop in sales as people stayed away from the office and missed out on holidays abroad. 

Bigger and better: Sales of hot tubs and jumbo TVs (pictured) soared in the last 12 months as we spent more time at home, John Lewis figures reveal. The British retailer shared the hero products that have ‘defined the last 12 months’ in its annual How We Shop, Live and Look report


Comfort is key: Home entertaining drove a rise in the sales of pizza ovens (left), with the best-selling model outselling BBQs for the first time. Right, Crocs also enjoyed a surge in popularity

Revealed: The hero products of the last 12 months – from air fryers to smart home security doorbells  

Safety first: The sales of smart home doorbells soared as families spent more time at home

SMART HOME SECURITY: +10% 

As people were at home all the time, their family’s security became a greater priority. Video doorbells also deterred thieves from swiping parcels from the doorstep. There was also a health reason: video intercoms allowed homeowners to chat with delivery drivers without face-to-face contact.

TRAMPOLINES: +270% 

Lockdown health and fitness routines enjoyed a surge in popularity thanks to online classes by the likes of Joe Wicks. Sales of trampolines bounced accordingly and peaked in December 2020.

SPEEDOS: +100%

The trend for wild swimming helped sales of Speedo’s men’s swim briefs double over the year.

HOT TUB SALES: +200%

John Lewis only started selling hot tubs in Christmas 2020 but they have been a hit with customers. Sales peaked in April. Hot tubs are a real home luxury and perhaps recreated the feeling of a holiday for people stuck at home.

AIR FRYER: +400% 

Air fryers were the perfect gadget in a year in which everyone was home cooking, with family meals becoming an activity for parents and children to share.

Sticking to staycations! No holidays abroad drove an increase in tents and camping equipment. Sports outerwear, such as lightweight coats, also sold well

TENTS: +650% 

Travel restrictions meant it was tricky to go abroad so shoppers embraced the home holiday and went camping. Sales of camping gear rose by 105 per cent while sales of tents increased by 650 per cent. Sports outerwear, such as lightweight coats, rose by a third.

CORNER SOFA: +95% 

The corner sofa has been a best-seller in a year when flexible home working was key. A corner sofa is easy to move and can fit pretty much anywhere, whether we’re relaxing, dining, teaching or working. 

PIZZA OVENS: +195% 

For the first year ever, John Lewis’s best-selling pizza oven sold more units than the best-selling barbecue. Whether portable or permanent, they became must-have items over lockdown as gardens took on greater importance.

BIG TVs: +146%

Research from media regulator Ofcom found that Britons spent a third of their waking hours watching TV in 2020. John Lewis increased its range of 75in- plus screens by 40 per cent. The retailer’s £10,000 TV sets sold out.

CROCS: +58% 

They may be the Marmite of shoes but Crocs snapped back into fashion this year. They were worn by contestants on Love Island and even spotted on the Oscars red carpet.

‘Four main trends defined what people shopped for this year,’ explained Pippa Wicks, executive director at John Lewis.  

‘Firstly, they looked to turn rooms in their homes into multifunctional living spaces. Secondly, they used technology to help them achieve this. 

‘Thirdly, we saw a rise in people cooking from scratch or seeking help with their meal preparation. Baking and cooking became family activities. 

‘And fourthly we saw a move to casual dressing as Working From Home became the norm. There is still a place for formal dressing, but casual is here to stay.’ 

More time at home was reflected in the rise in sales of corner sofas (95 per cent) and jumbo TVs (146 per cent), while demand for statement desks (65 per cent) and ergonomic chairs (85 per cent) soared as workers invested in their home offices.

Comfortable clothing also enjoyed a boost: sales of women’s nightwear rose by 80 per cent, with pyjama sets performing particularly well. At the same time shoppers ditched thongs. 

Our homes are our castles: Corner sofas became even more popular due to the need for pieces of furniture that are versatile and could be adapted to suit a range of spaces

Meanwhile those who were lucky enough to have outdoor space splashed out on added luxuries. 

Sales of trampolines bounced by 270 per cent as parents looked for ways to keep their children active and entertained, while hosts snapped up hot tubs (200 per cent) and pizza ovens (195 per cent) for outdoor get-togethers.  

Staycations drove up a tent sales (650 per cent) and the wild swimming craze meant more men were snapping up Speedo briefs (+100 per cent).  

… And the items we left behind 

 Staying home: Sales of passport covers fell by 83 per cent while sales of travel adaptors plunged by 74 per cent

TRAVEL ACCESSORIES: -83%

Sales of passport covers fell by 83 per cent while sales of travel adaptors plunged by 74 per cent. And pity the poor suitcase: millions sat at home gathering dust all year and sales of new ones fell 64 per cent.

FILING CABINETS: Delisted

John Lewis has stopped selling filing cabinets as the demand isn’t there. The world is going digital and paperless, with storage happening in cloud servers. As a result, customers no longer need to print their documents to store in hanging A4 folders.

BRIEFCASES: -22%

Demand for office accessories was down due to working from home. Briefcase sales fell by more than a fifth. Laptop bags were down by a quarter. Sales of other types of business bags fell by 56 per cent. 

NECK TIES: -75%

Up until July, sales of men’s ties were down by three quarters compared to the year before. Formal workwear simply wasn’t required: it was all about dressing casually. But sales bounced back strongly (200 per cent) post-July, due to the return of weddings and the re-opening of some offices. 


No commute, no need! Sales of briefcases (left) and 2-in-1 laptops are both down

On the way out: Shoppers favoured big underwear over skimpy thongs, pictured 

CHILDREN’S PARTY CLOTHES: -27%

The pandemic was the ultimate party pooper. Sales of children’s party clothes dropped by 27 per cent and sales of shoes for special occasions halved.

2-IN-1 LAPTOPS: -27%

Portability became less important this year as most people were stuck in one place. This meant that sales of 2-in-1 laptops – that’s laptops that become tablets when their keyboard is detached – fell by 27 per cent. 

THONGS: -6%

Sales fell 6 per cent this year as customers opted for more comfortable and practical underwear. 

MAKE-UP BAGS: -50%

With nowhere to go, the demand for make-up bags subsided. Once restrictions eased in April and people found the joy in make-up again, sales of make-up and makeup bags shot up.

Death of glam? With nowhere to go, the demand for make-up bags subsided

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