Catalogue retailer twice as popular as Debenhams
Argos leads the rankings as the most popular homewares shop, comfortably beating Ikea, according to research from Mintel.

Some 38 per cent of consumers have bought homewares from the catalogue retailer in the past 12 months, the survey found.

Ikea came second, with 25 per cent, while Debenhams is the highest-ranking department store, with 18 per cent.

Supermarkets made a strong showing in the sector, with 17 per cent for Tesco and 16 per cent for Asda. Department store John Lewis notched up 14 per cent.

Consumers' total homewares spend grew 12 per cent, to slightly less than£10 billion, according to the study, which said some shoppers now replace homewares as often as they replace their clothes. Only one in four British adults believes it is worth paying the money for homewares that last. The old days when newlyweds would buy a full set of homewares to last a lifetime are past, the survey noted.

Even fewer shoppers believe in selecting functional items. Just 18 per cent of respondents said they choose functionality over fashion when selecting items for the home.

Mintel senior retail analyst Richard Caines said: 'It is clear that the British are now taking a more throwaway approach to decorating their homes. Housewares are replaced not because they are old or worn, but simply to get a new look.

'This lifestyle has been made possible by falling prices in the housewares market, with Britain now enjoying more choice and better value for money than ever before.'