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Limited edition items ignite a holiday frenzy

‘Every year it feels like for one of those items, it’s now or never. If it’s a limited edition, I think again, because it might be sold out.’

Dec 11,2007
A Christmas light computer hard drive case by Turex
Lee Si-nae, a graphic designer in Seoul, is a Christmas gift fanatic.
Ever since she got her first paycheck, her closets and bathroom have been filled with limited edition holiday items she has purchased. Last year, she gave her husband boxer shorts with a picture of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, a special Christmas edition by Tommy Hilfiger.
For herself, she bought Bobbi Brown’s cosmetic palette and aroma candles by Aveda, which only come out at Christmas.
“Every year it feels like for one of those items, it’s now or never,” Lee said. “If Coach sells Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer keychains throughout the year, I wouldn’t even bother asking about the price. But if it’s a limited Christmas edition, I think again, because it might be sold out later.”

A crystal candle stand by Swarovski
This year, she anticipates buying limited editions of bath gel by Body Shop, her favorite Christmas choice.
“Last year it was cranberry fragrance,” she chirps. “This year, it’s plum.”
For those with cash to spare, there’s no time like Christmas.
It’s a season when luxury brands lure hungry shoppers with quirky seasonal items. The shopping impulse around Christmas is fueled by the increasing marketing for limited edition items.
Companies already are displaying feaatured items in window displays of department stores, including holiday ornaments, party clutches and sports watches that will drive sales through Christmas. Many, the shop clerks say, will be gone by the year’s end.
Mandarina Duck, the Italian fashion house in Korea, just released a limited edition of their vintage luggage and a “Double Glass” line bag, which comes in scarlet to match the holiday.

Stiletto heels by Enzo Angiolini
To wrap around a fashionista’s arm, Coach also began selling limited editions of their “Resort Collection,” which includes a metallic holiday clutch with the company’s trademark logo.
Enzo Angiolini, a high fashion shoe brand, is promoting blood-red satin stiletto heels with a feminine rosette as a Christmas limited edition.
Everywhere, the spirit of Christmas, or its commercial offshoot, is in full swing.
Swarovski just released the annual edition of its Christmas ornaments and crystal candle stands, which come with a golden tag that’s engraved with “2007.”
Since the company’s holiday edition crystal swans first launched in 1995, the brand’s Christmas living collections include crystal champagne glasses, cocktail swizzle sticks and window ornaments in various shapes and sizes, including a gingerbread man and a twinkling star.
For male sports buffs, Victorinox Swiss Army unveiled a limited edition 50 Alpnach, a sports watch inspired by the Cougar helicopter of the Swiss Air Force.
The firm hopes to sell the Alpnach after good revenue from its Airboss Mach series during the previous season. The Mach series was designed to commemorate a Swiss pilot.

The “Alpnach” watch by Victorinox Swiss Army
Online retailers are also competing for holiday dollars with limited editions of quirky collectibles, which normally sell out during the season.
Turex, an acrylic manufacturer and retailer of casings for computer hard drives, is offering 107 limited edition handmade red hard drive cases, engraved with “Merry Christmas.”
The company will distribute their edition through five online shopping malls, including their own, starting this week.
More Korean consumers are adding limited editions of Christmas products on their wish lists.
“My husband proposed to me in front of the Christmas tree at Rockfeller Center two years ago,” said Lee Su-jin, a housewife in Seoul who collects Swarovski crystal ornaments every Christmas. A Swarovski crystal star is used as a tree topper for the Rockfeller Center Christmas tree in New York City. “It’s memorabilia of our wedding,” Lee said.
Rando Kim, a professor of consumer science at Seoul National University, said Korean shoppers are catching on to global marketing for limited Christmas items that appeal to impulse spending.
“It’s like buying a hat you don’t need from a souvenir shop when you visit an amusement park,” Kim says. “You regret it later, but you buy these things when you are surrounded by a festive mood.”

Top: The “Double Glass” handbag by Mandarina Duck. Bottom: A party clutch by Coach. Provided by the companies
Companies put psychological pressure on shoppers with their limited editions. Kim cites frequent tactics by home shopping channels, which boost sales by stressing limited items as a way to rush shoppers. In a recent case, Seo Tae-ji, a famous Korean musician, only sold 15,000 limited editions of his “Best of” album, which was released to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his career.
As a result, Seo’s album sold out in just five minutes on the Internet.


By Park Soo-mee Staff Reporter [myfeast@joongang.co.kr]


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