It’s been a year of tumultuous change and the British people aren’t taking comfort in the familiar. A flick through the John Lewis Retail Report 2016 reveals that the British public have developed a partiality for taking risks, and safe choices are no longer in vogue.
Based on sales at the high end retailer, this is what you can expect buyers of new homes to demand in the near future.
- Less storage
Imagine no possessions… It’s easy if you have on-demand services. Netflix, Spotify and the like have all pushed down sales of CD and DVD racks. Much is made of the fact Britain builds Europe’s smallest homes, and this supports developers who argue that storage is becoming a waste of space.
- Statement lighting
John Lewis reported that sales of statement light fittings rose 15% this year. According to the high end retailer, light bulbs themselves are now a design feature, with decorative LED lament bulbs adding a touch of ‘industrial chic’ to the home of 2016.
- Tactile fabrics
Seen on the catwalks of Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Dries Van Noten this summer, the British public has been luxuriating in velvet. Sales of the plush fabric increased 450% compared to last year. The luxurious look emulated the chicness of a boutique hotel and epitomised the bolder choices customers want in their homes.
- Brave not beige
People no longer feel neutral about beige. Customers have become braver about prints, with William Morris’ bold designs becoming a popular choice. Birds, especially exuberant prints featuring flamingo and hummingbirds, have migrated from feature walls to cover entire rooms.
- Compact furniture
The oversized furniture trend has shrunk into the distance. Smaller homes mean that homeowners need to make the most of smaller spaces, with sales of compact four-foot-wide beds increasing by 53%. Designed for smaller, more open plan homes, John Lewis’ HOUSE collection was updated this year for the increasingly sophisticated tastes of the space-conscious customer.
- Quieter appliances
Quiet Mark sales increased 10%, ensuring that multi-purpose living spaces are not overwhelmed with invasive, noisy tech.
- Smart technology
From thermostats that learn heating preferences to security cameras that recognise their owners’ faces, smart technology products broke through to the mainstream in 2016. Last year, searches for smart home products on johnlewis.com were up 670%; searches for Philips Hue smart lighting increased 207%; nest thermostat sales across all products increased 30%; and home monitoring technology sales grew 265%.
- Back to the future
Last year’s key trend in home technology was retro-inspired “tech-nostalgia”. This year customers combined this design-savvy approach with a nod to the future. Today’s homeowners are no longer afraid of change.
- Living furniture
According to John Lewis, technology will become increasingly embedded into home products, with speakers built into upholstery, TVs that make a design statement and bedside tables that charge your phone. Technology has made itself at home, and must consider itself part of the furniture.
- Clever kitchens
According to John Lewis, we’ll see a raft of smarter home cooking gadgets served up in coming years, such as slow cookers that can be controlled from a smartphone or ovens that adjust their settings based on the dish of choice.