In depth study by John Lewis reveals profound shift in consumer behaviour and emergence of a new ‘Moments Economy – Retail Times

A major study by John Lewis has unearthed a profound shift in consumer behaviour and the rise of a new ‘Moments Economy’. The findings are published in a report – The Moments Economy: How We Shop, Live and Look in 2022, which looks at the changing habits of Britain’s shoppers in 2022 and beyond.

While the celebrations and holidays are back, people today are now seeking joy in everyday moments – not just the big moments. 

From the late 1990s, the ‘Experience Economy’ evolved which gave way to a new, modern shopper investing in unforgettable experiences like the holiday of a lifetime and big weddings. But things have changed. The retailer said it is looking to bring that same joy to all the moments of our lives, no matter how big or small. This is the ‘Moments Economy’. 

Experience economy evolves 

A number of factors have driven this shift. In a distracted, digital world, people want to appreciate the small, real moments in our lives. Covid drew people together and despite the cost of living crisis, the thirst for these moments remains. Eight in 10 Britons told John Lewis, happiness comes from the everyday moments in life. 

The importance of smaller, often less expensive everyday moments is reflected in the things people say they want to do more of.  In order of priority these are: prioritising their wellbeing, especially sleep, connecting with nature; creating memories with friends and family; living for the moment rather than being distracted by technology; and finding time to relax during an evening.  

The Moments Economy is also a marked change in how people spend.  More than half (58%) of the 5,000 people surveyed this summer said they prefer to spend money on things that make them happy day-to-day rather than one-off occasions or experiences.  

The cost of living crisis won’t deter the majority from making the most of everyday moments. More than three quarters (77%) agreed that despite the rising cost of living, it was still important to experience moments that make them happy and two-thirds (67%) say even if their living standards go down, it won’t stop them wanting to celebrate with friends and family. The majority (72%) say they don’t have to spend a lot of money to make them happy. In the coming year, more people plan to invest in quality time at home with family and friends (50%) than festivals (27%) or big days out. 

The John Lewis study analysed over 20 million data-points on social media, the shopping habits of millions of John Lewis customers, a 5,000 person survey,  as well as qualitative research with customers, and interviews with world-renowned experts in economics, psychology, health, home, family and lifestyle. 

2022: how we lived and looked:

It’s clear that a number of moments – big and small – have dominated 2022, evidenced by the trending products that defined the year: 

  • We elevated moments at home with guests – with small gatherings on the rise sales of statement white sofas are up 48%, flutes and wine glasses are up 88% and dinner sets up 34% 
  • …and this continued in our gardens as outdoor furniture sales quadrupled, with BBQs up 175% and pizza ovens up 62%.  Looking ahead, 61% of people intend to grow their own food to serve. 
  • The rise of new moments – pet birthdays saw sales of pet accessories increase 114% as one in five Britons took the time to celebrate the birthday of a four-legged friend.
  • The return of travel – our customers bought five times more cabin bags this year as regular mini-breaks became preferable to big holidays. 
  • We went wild for our health – nearly half of us spent more time on doing things that promote our wellness. Wild swimming grew in popularity. Sales of changing robes and paddleboards increased as 58% percent of us enjoyed spending more time in nature. Sales of wellness supplements were up 43% as customers looked to improve their inner zen 
  • We dressed up for the special moments – hats were up 168%, occasion shoes 38% and bridesmaid dresses 19%, as we attended a record number of postponed weddings. 

Cassie Holmes, Professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, who contributed to the study says: “The pandemic has made all of us more focused on those simple, ordinary moments and enjoy more happiness from them, because we’ve recognised just how precious our time is.”

Fiona Leahy, bespoke events designer, has noticed a dramatic change in what and how we celebrate. She said: “We’re bringing joy to our lives, we’re looking for new reasons to celebrate – like pet birthdays. We’re being bolder and we’re not going to stop.”

Michelle Ogundehin, trend authority and TV presenter says: “People aren’t having dinner parties to show off their homes any more, they’re having them because they’ve realised the power of connection. They’ll buy table decorations and flowers to make more of the moment.

“There’s a growing appreciation that we can burn a beautiful candle and sit outside with friends and don’t need to be on a beach in Marbella. But people also care where that candle is from, and what it’s made of. Maybe they feel they can’t solve major societal issues, but there is a burgeoning awareness that they can contribute with the things that they buy.”

John Lewis – for all life’s moments:

To rise to the emerging Moments Economy, John Lewis is changing. Always there for the big moments in people’s lives, John Lewis is pledging to be there for customers “for all life’s moments”. 

Pippa Wicks, executive director for John Lewis, says: “Today marks the first step of our journey to reimagine our business around a powerful insight around the Moments Economy. Customers told us that making the most of everyday moments contributes to their happiness. 

“We’re already synonymous with the big occasions, from Christmas to planning a nursery.  In rising to the emerging Moments Economy, we’ll become the place that people know they can come to bring a little joy to all of life’s moments, in an affordable way.” 

What customers will see:

  • We’re introducing new products and services to ensure that we inspire people beyond the big occasions, bringing joy to all life’s moments. 
  • In the coming months, John Lewis will  test a new store format to inspire customers to shop by real-life moments across categories rather than traditional product departments. 
  • To communicate our new promise ‘For all life’s moments’ to all our customers, on 5 September we will launch a major, new marketing campaign across our website, app and in store, and a new TV ad will be broadcast on 8th September
  • For Autumn / Winter 2022 the relaunched John Lewis own brand collection is made for all of the moments in our customers’ lives. From the confidence boosting back-to-work blazer through to the sofa built to withstand family life – these products are thoughtfully designed and made-to-last. 
  • This follows the launch of our popular value range ANYDAY which is expanding by 1200 products  across home, fashion and nursery this Autumn / Winter. 

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A major study by John Lewis has unearthed a profound shift in consumer behaviour and the rise of a new ‘Moments Economy’. The findings are published in a report – The Moments Economy: How We Shop, Live and Look in 2022, which looks at the changing habits of Britain’s shoppers in 2022 and beyond. While…