September might not seem like an obvious time to start displaying your Christmas wares. After all, it isn’t exactly front of mind for consumers, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded to treat themselves to some novelty self-eats.

“Seasonal impulse products not only act as a signpost for the festive season, but will deliver incremental sales for the retailer,” says Nestlé trade communications manager Graham Walker. “In 2010 the seasonal impulse category grew by a phenomenal 43% in the convenience channel, with sales worth £1.9m.”

Cadbury Wishes are back this year, having achieved the number one novelty spot last Christmas, but Nestlé, Mars and Lindt all have strong self-eat npd for 2011. Nestlé’s Aero Christmas Tree, rrp 65p, contains green peppermint Aero filling and comes in a winter-themed display outer suitable for countertops.


That’s how much Christmas confectionery was sold in the convenience channel in 2010, up 12% year on year, according to Nestlé

“Seasonal impulse products offer retailers an opportunity to make the most of sales from early September and throughout the total season,” adds Walker.

Mars agrees that September is the time to start displaying self-eats. The category provides consumers with ‘a little piece of Christmas’, which is one of the key purchase needs during the festive seasons, notes trade relations manager Bep Dhaliwal.

This year the company is replacing Galaxy Mistletoe Kisses with new Galaxy Gift. It’s an indulgent present-shaped treat with one half comprising solid chocolate, and the other filled with caramel. The Gift retails at 65p.

High-end chocolatier Lindt is also hoping for a bite of the self-eat market. Its miniature gold bear has a 50p price tag and is set to appeal to fans of the firm’s iconic reindeer and bunny chocolates. And Swiss firm Barens is adding a touch of magic to retail shelves this year with a 49p Father Christmas chocolate mould.

“These early winners are often bought on impulse as shoppers gear up for the season,” says Hancocks senior buyer Jonathan Summerley. “They cost little and tend to be something that people will want to purchase a number of.” The cash & carry has launched its own self-eat in the form of Christmas Ring Pops, which offer a good pocket money solution at just 25p.

Advent calendars are another product that will attract early Christmas sales, claims Summerley. “Many shoppers pick these up as they see them,” he notes.

Cadbury’s advent calendars are out to grab attention following a character refresh. The new-look Santa, reindeer and snowman will interact with the setting behind each calendar door.

Mars’ advent calendar has also had a design spruce-up and will benefit from an £8m media spend. Packs feature fun Christmas trivia behind each door, while the Maltesers calendar will entertain consumers with a game featured on the back of packs.

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