Consumers still have a sweet tooth despite a sour economy. U.S. confectionery sales at food, drug and mass stores continue to grow at a pace of 4.2%, outpacing overall store sales, according to data from the National Confectioners Association.
Chocolate is the key growth driver, with sales up nearly 8% in the drug channel, according to SymphonyIRI Group data for the 52-week period ended July 11. Sweet and savory combinations are one of the segment’s top trends, according to NCA.
The seasonal segment accounts for 50% of confection sales for the drug channel. “More than half of Christmas candy dollars come from the gifting segment,” said Tim Quinn, VP trade development for Mars Chocolate North America. “Consumers can pick up a last-minute hostess gift or stocking stuffer at their local drug store.”
NCA spokeswoman Jenn Ellek said seasonal and novelty products offer retailers a big opportunity for higher margins. “This area is almost purely impulse, so retailers need to merchandise well and make an early commitment so they have the right merchandise at the right time,” she said. Ellek also said that sales of nonchocolate novelties were up nearly 11% in the drug channel for the 12-week period ended July 11.
Licenses — always an important part of the category — will see a boost this fall from the Blu-ray release of “Star Wars” and the release of one movie in 3-D in February. “CandyRific’s M&M’s Star Wars Lightsaber is our No. 1-selling novelty item in the United States, and Darth Vader and Darth Maul are the two best-selling characters,” said Rob Auerbach, CandyRific’s president.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Candy Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.