Premium advent calendars are key purchase category this year in UK

The Christmas shopping season in the UK has seen premium advent calendars trending upwards and despite the controversy around the price of some, analysts say this is a key development for makers of beauty products and even smaller fashion items.


Harrods


This year 53.9% of online shoppers in the UK have bought or plan to buy an advent calendar, according to analysts as GlobalData. And while most purchases remain traditional chocolate-based products, beauty calendars "are clearly capturing shopper spend despite the increasing cost of Christmas,” GlobalData analyst Charlotte Pearce said.

In fact, beauty calendars came out top in a GlobalData UK survey of 2,000 online shoppers in terms of the amount spent on them. Some 12% of respondents said they would buy one with an average price of almost £30.

But while Christmas is seen as an ideal time to buy beauty gift sets or gift with purchase items (as they offer added value compared to buying single items at other times of year), there is a debate around the value of advent calendars. There has been a lot of press and social media discussion this year about the trend with much of the debate focused on advent calendars' lack of perceived value.

YouTube star Zoella saw her calendar being de-listed in recent weeks as the £50 product was claimed to contain items with a maximum value of just £20. 

Yet Pearce added: “Even with the criticism surrounding Zoella’s advent calendar over the price versus the perceived value, there is evidently appetite in the market with increasing choice from brands and retailers.”

GlobalData said retailers such as Debenhams and John Lewis, which have a variety of advent calendars from brands such as Molton Brown, Liz Earle, Edinburgh Gin, Yankee Candle and Lego, “are trying to capture extra spend by capitalising on an additional purchasing opportunity with these premium advent calendars acting as a supplementary pre-Christmas gift.”

Pearce also said that such calendars are driving additional spend over the Christmas period for retailers “by encouraging purchases from shoppers who may not have otherwise bought a calendar.”

Harrods is selling an advent calendar this year at £250 featuring 25 drawers containing prestige cosmetics inside suede pouches, while Charlotte Tilbury has one for £150 and Selfridges has been selling a Diptyque exclusive at £300 that's currently out of stock.

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