What do we want in our homes? Drinks trolleys and reusable straws! What don't we want? Landlines, fish kettles and suspenders...

Ahead of Black Friday, the latest retail report by John Lewis & Partners makes for better reading than the Saturday papers, giving a fascinating insight into our shopping habits

John Lewis & Partners drinks trolley
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

With Black Friday approaching, we've become a little obsessed with what we are interested in buying (because we want to try to bring everyone the best deals on the things they're really interested in). So, imagine our delight when John Lewis's annual retail report, Shop Live Look, landed in our inboxes. Really? Well, admittedly we'd rather be snuggled up on the sofa with The Testaments, but there's no denying that our shopping habits make for fascinating reading.

The headlines? It's official: John Lewis hasn't just stopped selling drones... the landline is dead, too. As dead as... a fish kettle, it seems.

So, which are the products that have shot up in popularity? With the tide of public feeling about environmental action having shifted massively in the last couple of years, it's unsurprising that sales of reusable straws, portable cutlery, and reusable water bottles have skyrocketed (by an almost unbelievable 1,573 per cent in the case of reusable straws – have you got any?). 

In the home, the preference is for luxury items on the one hand, and for expensive tech on the other. Sales of bedlinen have gone up 187 per cent, despite the high price of this natural material. Drinks trolley sales are up 136 per cent, despite the fact that the bar cart is a non-essential, luxury item. We also now want our TVs to be huge, with sales of the massive 82in TV up by 377 per cent.

And how do we like to decorate our homes? Seasonally, is the answer. Halloween is having an especially big moment, with the sales of Halloween themed decorations up 40 per cent. Easter is not far behind: sales of Easter themed decorations have gone up by 32 per cent.

Some of the changes make a lot of sense given the rise of digital products and mobile communications. Thus the sales of landlines are down 20 per cent from last year (45 per cent since 2014), with the majority communicating via their mobile phones these days. Camcorders are a rapidly vanishing product too, with sales down 33 per cent in one year.

Some products simply appear to have permanently gone out of fashion, such as fish kettles (down 100 per cent), mantel clocks (down 30 per cent), and cocktail shakers (20 per cent). And, of course, John Lewis has chosen to stop selling drones because of the controversy around them – although we suspect that their sales have dropped massively, too.

Hearteningly, some products seem to be showing decreased sales because they are, let's be frank, sexist and redundant in the modern woman's wardrobe. Thus clutch bag sales are down a whopping 61 per cent, and suspenders are down eight per cent. Amen to that (say the female-centric team of Realhomes.com).

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design.