Teaching activity

Advent Calendars. A Window of Opportunity for Retailers: A-Level Business in the News

Graham Prior

25th November 2023

Have a go at this teaching activity, which includes a downloadable worksheet and suggested answers.

What's the story?

Advent calendars have become incredibly popular sellers for retailers in recent years, generating huge sales for the likes of Harrods, Boots, and Net-a-Porter. What originated as simple calendars containing chocolate has now exploded into a phenomenon where all kinds of retailers produce advent calendars packed with products like beauty items, toys, books, and more.

Several factors drive the appeal and commercial success of advent calendars. The excitement of opening daily windows and discovering new items taps into people's innate curiosity. The exclusivity of calendars from luxury retailers like Liberty also initially spurred demand as people vied to get their hands on prestigious products. The sizable monetary savings the calendars represent make them seem excellent value for money. And social media marketing, especially influencer unboxing videos, generates substantial buzz.

Facing growing competition in a now-crowded market, retailers have upped the ante on their advent offerings. More full-sized products are included rather than miniatures; prizes and gift cards are hidden behind certain windows, and some packaging is designed to create an exciting, unwrapping experience.

However, advent calendars also carry risks for retailers. Production volumes must be accurately matched to demand to avoid being burdened with surplus stock by December whilst ensuring they have sufficient calendars to sell to customers. And perceived value for money is paramount after Chanel faced criticism last year for an advent calendar that contained stickers, a picture flipbook and a dust bag for an exorbitant £800 price tag.

But, despite looming pressures on discretionary spending amidst the cost-of-living crisis, advent calendars remain very popular this year. Retailers report no signs of waning demand, instead selling even more units as the craze shows no indication of dying down.

Shoppers may be more selective and considered in their purchasing, but still see specific advent calendars as worthwhile investments. So, for now, this highly lucrative trend remains in full flow, heading towards the festive season.

Have we reached peak Christmas advent calendar?

Download this teaching activity

Graham Prior

Graham is an experienced teacher, examiner, moderator and lover of education with a passion for teaching and learning.

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