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Smartphone is now the most popular online channel at John Lewis

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Mobile became the most popular online sales channel at department store John Lewis during the last year.

One in four (42%) online visitors to the website came via their smartphone rather than a desktop or tablet, according to the latest John Lewis & Partners Retail Report, which covers the year from August 2017 to September 2018. At the same time the number of orders placed via phones was 35% up on the previous year. This may be linked with the changing behaviour that John Lewis has detected in the way that shoppers use the website. “Customers are being much more specific about what they are looking for on our site, using more search words and filters to narrow down their options.”

Growing use of smartphones also affected sales of other items: alarm clock sales at John Lewis fell by 16% and the retailer has reduced its range of the products by 30%. As phone and TV screens got larger, so too did TV screens – the most popular screen measured 70 inches, up from 36″ in 2010.

Similarly, sales of smart doorbells grew by 367% since the retailer started selling them in July 2017, while door knocker sales fell by 9%.

“How we shop is changing at incredible speed,” said Simon Coble, trading director at John Lewis & Partners, “and shops need to combine the very best in service and experiences with unique and fantastic products. And the mobile phone is vital in both as a means to browse and research but also as a place to buy.”

John Lewis said the year was “one of the toughest retailers have seen”, with “uncertainty” and “difficult trading conditions” on the high street. Extreme weather boosted sales of boots (+63%) in February, and inflatables (+316%) in the summer heatwave.

The retailer also noted shoppers were more mindful about how sustainable the goods were that they bought, buying 71% more reusable coffee cups, travel cups and flaks in the four months after the final episode of Blue Planet II, compared to the same time in the previous year. The World Cup and the Royal Wedding also boosted sales. 

Cobley said: “Identity was a major theme across all shopping trends this year and it is no coincidence that the idea of identify is central to John Lewis’ long-term plans – our strategy is firmly about dialling up what makes us different so that we remain relevant. It is our job not only to celebrate what makes us stand out as a business but also to help our customers celebrate everything that makes them unique too.”

Image courtesy of John Lewis & Partners

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