A treat a day keeps winter at bay - why we love beauty calendars at Christmas

Beauty calendars have grown to be one of the most eagerly anticipated and fast selling items for the Christmas season. For those who’ve been deprived of regular visits to the beauty counter, it’s a brilliant way to satisfy our appetite.

Marjorie Leonidas

| 25 November 2020 |

Est. Reading: 3 minutes

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If you’re a lover of beauty products, then I bet you’ll know all about advent calendars. In 2016, Liberty launched its first ever beauty advent calendar and today it’s the fastest selling product in the store’s history. The 2020 version is still available to order at £219 with contents worth more than £789, but you’d better be quick. 

In just a few years, beauty calendars have grown to be one of the most eagerly anticipated and fast selling items for the Christmas season. In 2019, nearly half of Britons (49%) expected to receive an advent calendar and 13% bought calendars containing beauty products. This year especially, for those of us who’ve been deprived of regular visits to the beauty counter, it’s a brilliant way to satisfy our appetite for beauty treats, with something new to discover every day in December. Whether you’re looking for a brilliant gift or an affordable self-treat, real-time social proof messaging can be a real helping hand, offering relevant information and guidance every step of the way to ensure you shop with confidence. 

There’s a calendar for every taste and every price point. Dior’s £340 calendar includes fragrance, makeup and skincare in a gorgeous gold and black design (still available online when we last checked). At £240, NET-A-PORTER’s 2020 has a value of £1,115, but sadly is already sold out, as is Selfridges (sob). On the high street, Boots No7 Beauty Calendar is £45.00, the Body Shop has three options and Superdrug has seven to choose from. Even Amazon has curated its own beauty advent calendar with a mix of 24 popular brands on sale for £59.95.

Digital retailers Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay and FeelUnique favoured by Generation Z all offer advent calendars. For these young consumers, the packaging is important (as one put it “you have to look at it for a month”) and opening the door becomes part of a daily ritual to be shared on social media. These buyers are likely to research hard before making their choice. 

Buying a beauty advent calendar for yourself might be easy (Sefridges would be my choice) but if it’s a gift there are several to choose from and a bit of guidance online will be helpful. Social proof messaging that draws your attention to best sellers, or highlights customer ratings, can help you make an informed decision.

The same is true for the advent calendar’s close relation – the beauty box, a subscription service that sends you a selection of beauty goodies every month or whenever you specify. Like getting a mini advent calendar every month, it’s a great way for trying out new names, different colours or formulations without too much expense or waste. Glossybox and Birchbox are perhaps the best known but there are plenty of newcomers on the block as well as retailers such as LookFantastic adding beauty boxes to their range. Again, social proof can help consumers decide what’s best to buy by guiding them through the sign-up process and reassuring them that other people have already signed up.

The pandemic and subsequent restrictions on going out and about have all but put a stop to the traditional beauty counter experience with its personal consultations and sampling. Advent calendars and beauty boxes are two ways in which brands and retailers can fill the gap and offer their customers a pleasurable and entertaining way to discover new products. Real-time social proof can play a valuable role in helping those customers buy with confidence.