They are the highlight of the run-up to Christmas for children, excited to open a door every day to reveal a toy, picture or chocolate.
But now grown ups are increasingly joining in the Advent calendar fun, with sales of items filled with toys such as Lego and Playmobil particularly appealing to the ‘kidult’ market.
One of the reasons sales are strong is that it’s not just children that are excited to open toy-filled advent calendars from 1st to 24th DecemberFREDERIQUE TUTT
Sales of toy-filled Advent calendars, which originated in France and Germany, are up 5 per cent on last year, driven by demand from adults and teenagers keen to collect the daily toys featuring popular characters including Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Researchers NPD Group said Lego’s Harry Potter and City Advent calendars are the top two bestsellers, followed by one from Playmobil.
Two other Lego calendars – the Star Wars themed product and the Lego Friends version – also featured in the top ten.
Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst for toys at NPD, said: “Already established in France and Germany, the toy-based Advent calendar trend has been a little slower to take off in the UK, but it’s now gathered momentum and shows no signs of abating.
“One of the reasons sales are strong is that it’s not just children that are excited to open toy-filled Advent calendars from 1st to 24th December. Our research suggests that the ‘kidult’ population is helping to drive sales, with older children, teenagers, young adults and toy collectors treating themselves to a Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel or Fortnite toy-based Advent calendar.”
He added: “With average prices in the top 10 current best-sellers ranging from £15.07 for a Playmobil calendar to £29.34 for the Funko Pop! Harry Potter for 24 toys, this growing sector is providing a welcome revenue lift to the UK toy sector at a critical time of year.”
NPD said that the Christmas sales period had seen LOL Surprise toys, which offer dozens of tiny separate toys for children to unwrap – part of the ‘unboxing’ trend popular with youngsters in recent years – are the bestsellers in the run up to Christmas. The brand occupyies four of the top ten slots with products including a pricey Glamper at £83 and a stocking filler of a basic doll.
In terms of the categories that are proving to be the most popular, sales of action figures and accessories are up 8 per cent year-on-year mainly fuelled by Funko Pop!, Toy Story and Fornite.
Tutt said: “As we get closer to Christmas day, we expect a positive impact on sales from the movie Frozen 2, so the top ten we will release closest to Christmas will change as we see LOL Surprise!, Frozen 2 and Games & Puzzles battle for the top spots.
“Year after year, sales of Games & Puzzles soar in the very last weeks of the year, and this year again, whatever the current toy craze on Christmas wish lists, many families will continue to enjoy a traditional board game over the festive period.”