Dec 3, 20184 min read

Why Advent Calendars Are a Brilliant Business Hack.

by Kristian Borglund

The advent calendar is the new darling of the holiday season for brands and online businesses. “Our calendar sales are up 100 percent from last year,” says Kajsa Knapp, co-founder of the webshop Coolstuff.se. The easy-to-sell factor is just one of several reasons why calendars are great for your business.


“I love calendars, and can’t wait to expand our range even further next year,” says Kajsa Knapp at Coolstuff.se.
She says that she just received a calendar herself, a gift from her sister. A nail beauty calendar.
“Many adults like myself no longer follow the tradition of exchanging Christmas gifts. Instead, it’s becoming increasingly popular to buy advent calendars for one another. That’s the trend I see unfolding.”

As a merchant, she doesn’t mind how traditions are changing.
“I’m grateful that we get another peak on the sales charts that keep going during October and November each year, before the Christmas rush. Staffing becomes easier.”

This year her business brought in 12 different calendars. That number is likely to increase to more than 50 next year because their customers can’t get enough of them.
For the first time this year, her team also introduced their own calendar. A DIY beer calendar. It doesn’t actually include any beer, but the 10 euro package which gives you space to insert your own bottles behind the familiar 24 numbered windows has been a great success.

Another big seller is the erotic calendar, which retails for about 150 euro. The company has been delivering 60-70 of them per day, for the last two months.

So why are calendars such a great idea for brands and e-commerce businesses? Here are some of the reasons.

1. Calendars sell like crazy.

The calendar itself is a desirable stand-alone product. People love buying these original gifts for themselves and for others. It’s a great way to add fun, excitement and surprise as the holiday season begins. And great for increasing revenue.

2. It’s an opportunity to promote samples of your products.

The calendar can bring you new customers as well as increased sales from existing customers. When people discover something they really like behind those calendar windows, they want to buy more. One of the companies that has mastered this kind of “calendar marketing” is beauty brand Rituals. They put some of their best and most wanted products inside the calendar, the idea being that these will get the customer to fall in love with the brand. And as an added bonus, people will be reminded about these products at a time of year when they are on the lookout for Christmas gift ideas.

3. The recipients will be reminded of your brand every day for 24 days (!!).

Best of all, those reminders don’t happen in a spammy kind of way (like many e-mail promotions, sponsored ads, etc.) but in a surprising, fun kind of way that people excitedly anticipate.

4. Calendars create a social buzz.

If you do it well, people will mention the calendar (and your brand) among friends and colleagues. And, if you’re lucky, your calendar will be mentioned in calendar lists online (like ours, here), as well as showing up all over Instagram.

5. Calendars can have high margins.

The perceived value of the whole package can easily exceed the value of the individual parts. For example, if you hide 24 bags of tea behind the windows of a calendar, you can sell that calendar at a much higher price than the 3 euro you could charge if you put together those same 24 bags into an ordinary box of tea sold at the supermarket.

But there are pitfalls too. Watch out for:

  • The one-window nightmare. If one of the surprises is broken, rotten, or turns people off in other ways, the calendar may hurt your brand forever.
  • Overall disappointment. If you sell a beauty calendar that gives the impression of containing lots of high-value samples/products, but only 3-4 windows actually do (while the rest are just stuffed with cheap crap), that will hurt your reputation.


Read more: Advent calendars – the new holiday shopping