Profitable business with the advent of calendars
Lego, perfume, sex tools: nothing seems too expensive for the Christmas calendar anymore. But are they worth the money?
When the doors of the first advent calendar open on Thursday, there are hardly any simple pictures or chocolate carvings left behind. Simple paper calendars with cute Christmas decorations have long lured neither children nor adults behind the stove.
Nowadays it must be more unusual or unusual. Lego figures, mini books, fitness tools, sex items, coffee pods, cereal boxes, beer calendars, tea bags, seed packets, cocktail mixer accessories, BBQ seasoning, perfume samples or cosmetics – everything small enough to be packed away Christmas – cardboard packaging.
Most advent calendars are exaggerated
Michaela Schwanenberg, legal officer at the Consumer Advice Center in Saxony, confirms this impression. “Almost everyone who displays any commodity goes to the market with a new calendar,” she says.
The prices the industry calls are exorbitant. If a child loves gummy bears, you pay around 9 to 13 euros for 24 small bags, depending on the provider. Together with the calendar, they weigh about the same as two regular bags of gummy bears for a total of €1.98.
If the offspring likes baby surprises, parents or grandparents can pay 32 euros for 11 surprise eggs, smaller hollow figures and chocolate coins. At least it comes with a Santa hat.
The Barbie calendar, which includes the figure and clothes for the doll, costs € 24.99. The child will benefit from it later. On the other hand, 24 Knox incense cones in fancy packages for € 10.95 disappeared into the air at Christmas. The individual package with 24 candles is available from 2.19 euros.
All of them are probably 24 special but small-bottle whiskeys from Ireland, Scotland, the USA and Japan from the beverage company for just €139.90. According to a survey by Lebensmittel Zeitung, sales of advent calendars in Germany amounted to 98 million euros in 2018. The tendency despite the crisis: it is growing.
Consumers want something special
But why do people spend so much money on it? “Because consumers want something special. It’s worth it for him,” says Schwanenberg, business expert Andreas Kapke from the Cooperative State University of Baden-Württemberg.
In one he said: “The factory benefits because it can also sell other products, and the commercial advantages because it increases frequency, and the consumer gets exactly what he is looking for: something special on the occasion of the festival.” Market check. The SWR channel did this four years ago and set the real prices for the merchandise.
But what was true then has not changed to this day. “The price-performance ratio is in question for many of these products,” says Michaela Schwanenberg. “I’m not sure the consumer is always aware of that.”
In any case, it is cheaper to buy a bag of sweets and make something yourself. And the market has a number of solutions for this too: advent calendar bags to fill yourself in, made of felt, fabric or paper, printed, embroidered, to stand or hang.
There was a positive surprise in the SWR test. Cosmetic calendars were more than worth their money. Compared to buying the products individually, you can actually “make a real deal,” Schwanenberg says.
According to trade expert Kaapke, these are not pre-Christmas gifts from manufacturers. Because small packages are often products that are not selling well in season or new items that you want to try and see how customers receive them.
“From a manufacturer’s perspective, both make a lot of sense,” says Hapke. The customer should not care. She is happy with small specimens. 24 times.