Advent calendars have become one of the most well-stocked products in the lead-up to Christmas this year, according to data from independent retailers in the UK.
Wholesale marketplace Faire, which connects independent retailers and brands, found that retailers’ searches for ‘Advent Calendars’ were up 500 per cent in August 2023, compared to the same period last year.
Faire attributes the rocketing demand to excitement over unique and unconventional product ranges, as well as a footfall-driving strategy by independent shops to ensure seasonal sales success.
Non-traditional products such as popcorn advent calendars by Popcorn Shed, jewellery advent calendars from MYC-Paris and toy-filled advent calendars from PLAYin CHOC proved particularly popular with shop owners striving to differentiate their offering from the standard ranges available in major supermarkets.
Charlotte Broadbent, UK general manager at Faire, explained, “Whether its jewellery, toys, or socks, independent retailers were stocking up on bespoke advent calendars earlier than ever this year, with the knowledge that shoppers are seeking truly special ranges – the more unusual the better.
“For many retailers, advent calendars are a very successful footfall-driving technique to attract Christmas shoppers through the doors before they’re necessarily getting serious about present-buying – a crucial strategy in the current battle of independents versus major chains on the high street.”
Anthony David, commercial director at Something Different Wholesale, one of the companies supplying advent calendars to independent retailers via Faire, said, “Sales for our advent calendars have more than doubled over the last year and the demand has been unprecedented; so much so that when stock arrived earlier this year it sold out in just two days. We immediately arranged for more calendars to be shipped, and these also sold out in record time.
“One of our most popular products was a crystal advent calendar which includes 24 crystals and an explanation of the properties of each. We developed this after noticing a general rise in demand for crystals amongst our customer base, so knew this would be a product that would appeal to both our customers and theirs.
“There is a rise in demand from people who are seeking to draw out the magic and excitement of Christmas, enhanced by social media and unboxing trends. They don’t want to miss out on the excitement of opening a daily gift. And as calendars become more diverse to meet this growing demand, retailers can find more unique or niche calendars which will appeal to their customer base and fit in with the rest of their product offering.
“Next year, we’re planning to introduce new advent lines and countdowns to other holidays, such as Easter and Halloween. They are becoming bigger celebrations and people are seeking ways to make them special by creating new traditions, of which advent calendars tie in with nicely.”
Kate Tompsett, who buys products from Faire for her independent shop Happy & Glorious in Canterbury, said, “We make our own Advent calendars using British and beautifully made products, many of which come from Faire. We put in things like soaps, pampering products, candles, jewellery and make sure every calendar is different and unique.
“We saw the popularity of these kind of Advent calendars rise during the pandemic when people were keen to send them to friends and family to show that they were thinking of them. They are still buying them much more as a gift rather than something for themselves.”
Faire, which launched in the UK in 2021 now serves over 45,000 retailers in the UK, four times the number of stores than the four largest supermarket chains combined. It provides independent retailers with flexible payment terms, and the ability to buy from thousands of independent brands and even search with the filter “Not on Amazon” to stand out amid intense high street competition.
Faire’s top 5 non-traditional Advent Calendars:
1. Scratch and Sniff Advent Calendar by Gift Republic
2. Christmas Kindness Colouring Advent Calendar by Fearless Flamingo
3. Vegan Gourmet Popcorn Christmas Advent Calendar by Popcorn Shed
4. Mindful Advent Activity Cards by Your Wild Books
5. Wax Melts Advent Calendar by Sevenoaks Candle Company