From wine to fishing tackle, retailers pray Advent calendars will attract shoppers By Reuters
© Reuters. Advent calendars are displayed at a Selfridges store in London, Britain November 25, 2022. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
By Doyinsola Oladipo
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Counting down the days until Christmas is a major marketing decision for retailers this year. Retailers of Target (NYSE:) to Christian Dior of LVMH are betting that the spirit of this season comes down to an age-old religious object: the Advent calendar.
Calendars traditionally mark each December day of Advent, a time for Christian believers to reflect and prepare for the Nativity and the expected return of Jesus Christ. Secular versions of retailers usually sport 12, 24 or 25 small numbered compartments, each with a unique item to be revealed daily before Christmas.
Jen Cole, 45, of Biddeford, Maine, was looking for a calendar for her teenage daughter at the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. She bought the Fish ‘Meowy Christmas’ Advent calendar for her cat at Target for $10, and a Burt’s Bees calendar for her son at Sam’s Club for $19.48.
“He loves Chapstick, so we thought we’d give it a try,” she said.
Last year, she picked up JC Penney’s (OTC:) Marvel 12-Day Advent Calendar complete with superhero-themed socks.
Dior is selling a $3,500 Advent calendar in a wooden box and cotton canvas like its Paris boutique on Avenue Montaigne. Open a door and slide out the drawer every day. You’ll find one of 12 scents, four candles, four soaps, three candle accessories, and a scented ornament.
For toddlers, Walmart (NYSE:) is selling the Baby Shark Advent Calendar, priced at $44.99. Behind 24 small doors are rooms for 18 small toys, including a tiny candy cane slide. “Countdown to Fishmas,” the box beckons.
And for anglers, there’s a $34.99 tackle advent calendar with realistic, color-changing soft baits at The Fishing Shop.
Inflation is high. The economy is shaky. Stores have too much inventory. And buyers are usually too cautious to splurge. Retailers see calendars as a way to showcase products that people might not have bought or tried otherwise, garnering an early season sale from people who want to gift their friends, family and even their small luxuries pets.
Cadbury was the first to mass-produce chocolate Advent calendars in 1971. But the format has grown in popularity since minimum bids in 2013, according to Heather Ibberson, retail analyst at EDITED, a design company. ‘data analysis.
Upscale British department store Liberty launched its own Advent calendar in 2014, which Ibberson says has become “the best-selling and best-selling product in its nearly 150-year history”.
Selfridges & Co is offering 128 Advent calendars priced from £4.99 to £623 this season, more than double last year’s deals. The UK-based retailer said in early October that “advent calendar” was the most searched term on its website and that its beauty calendar had sold out its first version. She claims to have been the first to offer a beauty Advent calendar.
Such calendars are an effective tool for convincing early vacation buyers “to check out something else,” said Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia Business School.
“Opening the drawers of this Advent calendar is reminiscent of the experience you get on our beauty floors, where we explain brands and products to you,” said Marissa Galante Frank, Director of Beauty Accessories and Fashion. from Bloomingdale’s.
Advent calendars cannot sit on the shelves on the seventh floor of the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman in New York. Inside a red box adorned with gold embroidery are 24 small slide-out compartments filled with home fragrance sprays, candles, car perfumes and ornaments from Italian perfume brand Dr. Vranjes Firenze, priced at $629.
Rival Saks Fifth Avenue has 18 calendars for sale this year up from 12 in 2021, priced from $65 to $3,500.
Discount supermarket ALDI said it has 25 holiday calendars. The ALDI Holiday Magic Wine Advent Calendar includes 24 unique labels and 16 wine varieties from eight countries of origin for $59.99. Each wine label has a QR code that shoppers can scan to learn more about the wine.
“The consumer is overwhelmed with an often unmanageable array of choices,” said Howard Meitiner, former president and CEO of Sephora USA. “There has been a trend towards new seasonal products.”