Avocados, millennial pink, and the death of the spiraliser: Eight surprising things we learned from John Lewis's shopping trends report

Alys Key
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Healthy breakfasts, home tech, and unique experiences were in demand this year (Source: John Lewis)

Avocados, millennial pink, and unicorns were the defining trends of 2017 according to the annual John Lewis shopping report.

We trawled through the retailer's deep delve into our buying habits to pull out the weird facts, abandoned trends and future forecasts that you need to know.

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1. Home tech is in, sat navs and e-readers are out

Sales of connected devices for the home increased 160 per cent and the number of products in the category on offer at John Lewis has risen from three to 135 in just five years.

But not all tech sticks around. The retailer has said that its journey with sat navs is approaching its final destination, and that the products have now been pulled from stores to only be stocked online. Meanwhile a renaissance for the good old fashioned book meant a 23 per cent drop in sales of eReaders.

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2. The unicorn was the emblem of this year

Millennials hoping to escape to a happy place drove a 70 per cent increase in searches for the word "unicorn" on the John Lewis website. They were not disappointed. Unicorns were on everything from napkins to necklaces. John Lewis even introduced a bottle of gin called Unicorn Tears.

3. Everyone went mad for breakfast

Sales of egg gadgets jumped 25 per cent, while tools for preparing avocados spiked with a 40 per cent increase. And consumers are serving up their kitchen creations in bowls, which were up five per cent, rather than plates, which dropped 12 per cent.

4. ...but the spiraliser might be dying out

In a year of backlash against the clean eating movement, searches for spiralisers dropped 53 per cent and sales were down 40 per cent.

5. Experiences are everything

With millennials three times as likely to do another activity such as bowling while out shopping, John Lewis hopped onto the demand for in-store experiences in a big way. They took the joy of a homeware display to its extreme by inviting customers to stay overnight in The Residence, a fully furnished apartment in three of their stores, all of the products in which could be purchased.

6. The peak time for dress shopping is 9.39pm

If you've ever bought a dress as this time of night, you're not alone. John Lewis revealed this was the peak time it receives orders for dresses on its online store. Nighttime shoppers were also keen on Chanel lipstick, which sells well at 3am.

7. Londoners have darker thoughts than the rest of the nation... when it comes to denim

While Edinburgh natives are rocking red jeans and shoppers in Leicester prefer grey, Londoners were buying up black skinny jeans. The look was the most popular style in ladies clothing and more black denim sold in menswear categories in London than it did anywhere else.

8. Things could get wacky in 2018

John Lewis also made predictions for the year ahead, which included the ominous idea that mens' shirts are going to get "conversational", with loud prints and bright colours. The same is true of homeware, where tropical animals are expected to feature heavily on furnishings.

Meanwhile technology will work to suit our needs more, with the retailer expecting voice controlled personal assistants to become mainstream as yet another gadget, Sonos, launches onto the market. Coffee machines are also becoming more attuned to our needs, with new models able to store the preferences of each member of the family to make them the perfect morning brew.

Read more: Five reasons you should drink more, not less coffee

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