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Shoppers are on a personal mission, finds John Lewis

Retailer’s research into consumer behaviour identifies goals that drive shoppers.

The way people buy is no longer dependent on age or demographics, but by their own personal shopping “missions”, John Lewis’s fourth annual report into consumer behaviour has revealed.

The “need it urgently” shopper is most likely to shop on her mobile on weekdays between 6am to 9am and typically takes less than six minutes to make an order.

However, the consumer looking for entertainment and inspiration will usually browse in stores on Saturdays and on mobiles on Sunday, spending an average of 26 minutes browsing through to purchase.

The department store also identified a 43% rise in stylist appointments over the last six months from those shoppers looking for advice. It is trialling Dressipi’s fashion personalisation and analytics platform, which gives tailored daily clothing recommendations online to further meet this group’s needs.

The final goal relates to those who “buy on a whim”, whose purchases are most commonly made on Saturdays, followed by Fridays. Tablets are often used to fulfil this mission but 46% of these purchases are not researched beforehand, John Lewis found.

Weather, unsurprisingly, had a big impact on how female shoppers bought fashion this year – John Lewis reported strong sales of linen in January because of the mild winter, yet a 13% rise in sales of women’s thermals in May compared with 2015, driven by a cold start to the summer.

The influence of social media has continued to grow, resulting in a 127% increase in customers visiting John Lewis’s website via a link shared on social media from a mobile phone, and big growth (54%) in social-driven orders from smartphones compared with last year.

In March, Princess Charlotte wore a John Lewis snowsuit in the Alps, which resulted in a sales uplift of 420%, while in May BBC TV series Peaky Blinders boosted demand for flat caps, leading sales to rise by 27% after episode one of the third series and by 83% after episode two.

The department store said the looks that defined the year came from US influencer Iris Apfel for the maximalist trend, Victoria Beckham for the “new casual”, Kylie Jenner, who led the charge on athleisure, and prime minister Theresa May for her approach to power dressing.

John Lewis reported menswear spend increased 3.5% during the year, as men took more interest in their outfits. Sales of men’s cashmere rose by 33%.

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