As John Lewis looks for a new ad agency, can the brand expand its appeal?
March 30th, 2023, Christien Pheby

As John Lewis looks for a new ad agency, can the brand expand its appeal?

John Lewis recently announced that it would be reviewing its advertising strategy and searching for a new creative agency to reach a wider audience. Given the brand’s high-profile, much-loved Christmas campaigns, it’s news that may seem surprising – but data from YouGov Profiles shows that there could certainly be more potential customers to reach.

We’ve separated the potential target audience for John Lewis into three groups: current customers, lapsed customers with a neutral or positive opinion of John Lewis, and customers with a positive/neutral opinion of John Lewis who have never shopped with the brand.

John Lewis customers have higher incomes – and more expensive taste – than target customers

Looking at the money at their disposal, our data shows that current John Lewis customers are more likely to belong to the higher income bracket (29%) than lapsed customers (18%) or John Lewis newbies (8%). Conversely, lapsed customers (23%) and those who have never used the brand (36%) are much more likely to belong to a lower income bracket.

So while the Partnership is not traditionally considered a budget brand, there may be an opportunity to target customers of lesser means if John Lewis can get the right products to market. While current John Lewis customers place a premium on quality, this factor isn’t as significant a concern for lapsed customers and people who have never shopped with John Lewis.

While 80% of the brand’s current customers say they don’t mind paying extra for good quality products, this falls to 69% for lapsed customers and 57% for customers who’ve never shopped with the brand. And while 55% of John Lewis customers are willing to pay extra for next day delivery, this declines to just 48% of former customers and 44% of newbies.

This greater aversion to next-day delivery costs may partially explain why both lapsed John Lewis customers and never-were customers are more likely to have purchased clothing in-store over the past year (although both groups are also more likely to have simply not purchased any clothing at all).

Grabbing the attention of John Lewis’ new target audience

YouGov Profiles data shows that online is the favoured advertising channel for John Lewis’ current customers (43%), and for lapsed John Lewis customers (49%). But for John Lewis newbies, TV (37%) is actually a more popular channel, with just a third (34%) saying that online advertising grabs their attention. TV is also popular with current (39%) and lapsed (41%) customers.

Lapsed customers (18%) and newbies (10%) are also far less likely to respond to print ads than current customers (26%), and the same goes for billboards (current: 25%; lapsed; 20%; never: 16%). All groups are similarly inclined towards in-store promotions, direct mail, and radio – but for most channels, never-were consumers are less receptive to advertising. The major exception is the cinema, where 15% say ads are more likely grab their attention compared to 11% of lapsed customers and current customers.

So for all purposes – retaining customers, winning back lapsed customers, and attracting new ones – John Lewis’ new agency may want to strongly emphasise online and TV. But to win over a neophyte audience, it might be worth buying some ad space in the nation’s cinemas.


YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Explore our living data – for free

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today. ​