Every year in December, many children open a box of their Advent calendar every day and enjoy a chocolate or a small toy.
A taste of Christmas that quickly seduced adults, who began to treat themselves to this pleasure previously reserved for children.
A trend that many brands have sniffed out by launching models for adults, filled with cosmetics, tea, beer or even sex toys.
A winning operation on all fronts for brands.
It's officially almost Christmas.
The start of the end-of-year holiday season was given on Thursday with the opening of the first box of Advent calendars.
And if it is traditionally an object filled with confectionery reserved for children, in recent years, adults are also more and more fond of it.
Brands – mainstream or luxury – have sniffed out the right vein, developing a plethora of Advent calendars for adults.
A new market that surfs on their desire for regressive pleasure, and which allows brands to offer themselves privileged visibility when shopping for Christmas.
Kid's fun, adult's wallet
"The Advent calendar is a profitable object historically for children's confectionery brands", plant Laetitia Biel, expert in brand strategy and communication.
“And for adults, it's a Proust madeleine, which evokes childhood memories, and they need it, abounds Aline Pozzo di Borgo, professor and expert in luxury marketing.
It is a boon in which all brands and merchants from all sectors have engulfed themselves.
“We are faced with gloomy news, people want to have fun, to be surprised by good things, there is a real so-called “ludo-regressive” marketing trend, observes Laetitia Biel.
And the brands have understood this well: they have detected an interesting market, which responds to a need more than a demand, to a quest for comfort and regressive pleasure, for a clientele who can satisfy this initially childish desire.
A pleasure “that we make last twenty-four days, underlines Laetitia Biel.
Even if it is consumerist, the Advent calendar works very well, because it does its job perfectly”.
And in this period of preparation for the holidays which can explode the mental load, "the brands have been able to offer a new clever gift to offer, especially since we find something for all tastes and at all prices", add the two experts.
"Create an additional high point of consumption"
A product that also has “the advantage of extending the holiday season and associated purchases, continues Laetitia Biel.
With these calendars, brands create an additional high point of consumption: we start consuming Christmas earlier.
This allows brands to stand out, very early on, by winning over customers about to do their Christmas shopping.
And to highlight their products in a fun way for sectors traditionally less associated with Advent calendars, whether brands of sex toys, delicatessen or luxury cosmetics.
In this way, brands recreate a link and a certain proximity with their customers.
In this, “the Advent calendar creates a virtuous circle for brands by offering them extraordinary visibility at a crucial period of high consumption, during which we are saturated with advertising messages, explains Aline Pozzo di Borgo.
Before, Christmas was monopolized by chocolatiers and perfumers.
Today, the Advent calendar allows all sectors – tea, beer or even cheese – to gain new visibility.
Here, the strength of brands is "to attract new customers, and to get us to buy a product that we don't need but which satisfies everyone: consumers by having fun, and brands, whether in terms of profitability, visibility and customer capture, therefore new sales to come”, analyzes the expert.
"More effective than an advertisement to introduce its products and win new customers"
And it doesn't matter if "the content remains quite derisory in the end", judges Lauranne, 32, for whom the purchase "is worth it just for this little moment of pleasure at breakfast, when I open the box of the day ".
It is not Marie-Céline, 54, who will contradict her, she who also offers herself this regressive pleasure every year, “filled with cosmetics from a beautiful brand.
This makes it possible to test the different products and possible dermatological reactions before buying a product in large format.
It is a purchase that I do not regret.
That too, the brands have understood.
“Whether they sell cosmetics or tea, it's a way of publicizing the extent of their range,” emphasizes Aline Pozzo di Borgo.
A unique opportunity to sell and present twenty-four products at once.
It's a new form of direct marketing: the brand settles in your home, and captures your attention differently.
It's doubly profitable, because traditional advertising is very expensive to win over new consumers, and here, in addition, the customer pays for this advertising.
An advertisement all the more effective as it is “more playful than on TV or in a magazine, adds Laetitia Biel.
The Advent calendar offers a beautiful setting, creates an ideal setting that allows the brand to discover, taste and test its products, which can then be adopted and bought back.
And since discovery and surprise are an intrinsic part of the Advent calendar, it makes sense for the brand and for the customer who discovers new things.
“A customer experience”
Recently, the market has also been conquered by luxury brands, which compete in refinement and beauty by offering a new ultra-desirable case each year, like Dior, Armani, or Guerlain.
Models whose price varies between 300 and 600 euros, and which contain make-up, care, perfumes, candles and other Christmas decorations.
Products for some in large format, but for many in miniature format.
This does not prevent sales from exploding.
"The brands have managed to make it a luxurious, exclusive, limited-edition object, which is talked about on social networks, this generates a virality that arouses envy and makes it a collector's item," says Laetitia Biel.
The prices are certainly very high, “but here, the luxury brand sells a customer experience, deciphers Aline Pozzo di Borgo.
Treating yourself to your Advent calendar means giving yourself access to the brand, to the dream it conveys.
This also makes it possible to desacralize it, to give it a more playful, younger and accessible, less museum-like side.
“A special experience, for which” customers pay more for the brand than for the product itself, notes Laetitia Biel.
It's not so much the content that counts as the pleasure of affording a share of luxury.
In this case, “even with miniatures, the brands stimulate the pleasure of consumers, who offer themselves a different experience from when they buy a treatment or a perfume they are used to.
There, they have the impression of giving themselves a special gift, of valuing themselves,” says Aline Pozzo di Borgo.
Find the right recipe
Provided you find the right recipe.
In 2021, Chanel is launching, for the hundredth anniversary of its most famous fragrance, the N°5, which for the occasion lends the shape of its bottle to the very first Advent calendar of the rue Cambon brand.
But at 700 euros, the object, filled with samples, stickers and small Christmas decorations, is crushed on social networks.
"An Advent calendar must not be deceptive, it must meet the criteria we have for a brand, in particular French luxury: French and quality products, in line with the image of brand, says Aline Pozzo di Borgo.
If the content is considered too cheap, the brand loses points.
However, “a pretty Advent calendar has a certain production cost, recalls the luxury marketing expert, even if it contains some miniatures, which are not free.
It is an object that must be designed, packaged, transported.
The margins are often correct, especially since the brands also use it as a vehicle for advertising, but there are even more profitable products for them.
But "if it is well thought out, it's a win-win for everyone", according to Laetitia Biel.
“With an Advent calendar, you tick all the boxes, concludes Aline Pozzo di Borgo: an often affordable price, beautiful packaging and a surprise every day, so you get what you pay for.
Christmas: "Like a child every morning"... Treating yourself to an Advent calendar when you're an adult, the ultimate kif?
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