It appears the heat has gone to our heads. Is there no end to the kitsch tiki bars taking over terraces up and down the nation? Will we ever tire of parrots, flamingos and pineapples?
Incredibly, kitsch is in this summer and we know that because of cold, hard data. Every week, John Lewis best nerds pour over the sales stats to see what they reveal about British buying habits.
Kitsch is bigger than ever in 2018; the week in June that Love Island returned, sales of Sunnylife inflatables soared, as Brits rushed to book holidays to Mallorca and packed the blow-up Sunnylife Tropical Island made for two (£82).
Year-on-year sales of faux palms are up nothing short of 252 per cent
Its not unusual for TV to influence what we buy. Known as the “Nigella effect” (the kitchenware she uses flies off the shelf), the Sunnylife blow-up hoopla was up 26 per cent, the cactus lilo up 86 per cent and the lie-on watermelon up a whopping 172 per cent – all in Love Islands first week. Instagram is another influence, where ridiculous/hilarious colourful props are a cheeky, affordable way to Insta-show-off on holiday or with friends in the garden at home. Nearly one in four inflatables sold this year have been unicorns, making it this year's firm favourite.
Sunnylife rose gold flamingo, £65
To stay competitive in the modern world stores need to be data savvy. As a seasonal buyer at John Lewis, it is Lisa Rutherfords job to second-guess what will be a hit with consumers well before the season changes, and in summer 2018 its “that one special item to make their outdoors more Insta-worthy, whether its bright and bold items or quirky products,” she says, “such as our tiki bar, up 118 per cent compared to last year.”
At £575, the tiki bar, accompanied by two stools and two chairs, is the big ticket item of the John Lewis Summer Pool Party range.
And once youve bought the bar, dont you also need a life-sized fake palm tree to go with it? Year-on-year sales of faux palms are up nothing short of 252 per cent. As for bright, bold outdoor cushions, which add eye-catching freshness to posts, sales of these “could go up the Shard nine times” and sold out quickly online.
House by John Lewis poolside bed tray, £35, painted stripe placemat, £18
For those of us without a garden (and a pool for that matter), there are tasteful ways to pep up our patios and balconies with Insta-worthy updates. The Sunnylife lemon drinks tray is graphic and zingy (and only £16) and the Salsa outdoor furniture range comes in palm green, mint, yellow and orange, and includes a suspended swing seat (£229), and the bird house is covered in Orla Kiely print (£33).
Jasiminne Yip, who runs the @poshbrokebored Instagram account, lives at Circus West Village at Battersea Power Station and has added a green wall of artificial foliage from Ikea to her covered balcony – combining our insatiable love of plants with an easily-maintained backdrop thats gram gold. You can do novelty without buying blow-up pink flamingoes, you know.