Packaged Facts: U.S. chocolate sales reached nearly $20 billion last year
ROCKVILLE, Md. — The U.S. chocolate market continues to grow, according to a new Packaged Facts report.
Calling the market "mature, differentiated and demanding," Packaged Facts said it has projected that the U.S. market for chocolate sold at retail was $19.5 billion in 2011, up 6.6% over the previous year. The research firm said everyday chocolate, seasonal candies and premium chocolate all posted dollar gains for the market, though the sales also were driven in part by price increases implemented to offset rises in raw material and other costs. The main channel for chocolate sales continue to be supermarkets and convenience stores, but natural food stores also have seen gains, particularly in the organic chocolate category.
For the full report, "Chocolate Candy in the U.S.," click here.
Survey: Hassle-free returns, speedy delivery and tracking capabilities important to online shoppers
RESTON, Va. — Sixty-three percent of online shoppers look at a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase, and nearly half said that they would shop more often and recommend a retailer with a lenient returns policy, according to a new study by ComScore. The report, commissioned by UPS, evaluates consumer shopping habits from pre-purchase to post-delivery. It is based on a ComScore survey of more than 3,100 U.S. online shoppers.
The report, the "Online Shopping Customer Experience Study," reveals that hassle-free returns and exchanges rank above average in terms of importance for shoppers but rank low in terms of current customer satisfaction, showing a significant area of opportunity for retailers.
"While free shipping has tended to dominate the discussion regarding what provides satisfaction to online shoppers, the study shows there are several other factors critical to a positive online shopping experience," ComScore director Susan Kleinman said. “Retailers need a holistic understanding of these drivers if they hope to stimulate sales while maintaining healthy margins in this competitive retail environment."
Consumers currently are most satisfied with the ease of checking out, the variety of brands and products available and online delivery tracking ability. They are least satisfied with the current level of flexibility in choosing delivery dates.
At least 42% of online shoppers reported abandoning their shopping carts because of delivery timing estimates, according to the study. While two-thirds of shoppers choose the most inexpensive shipping option, more than 40% expect to see the availability of two-three day delivery and nearly one-third of shoppers wanted the option to choose overnight shipping.
The need for speed is also important, with 48% of online shoppers not willing to wait more than five days for packages to be delivered. One-third of shoppers said they most often choose to pay a fee for faster delivery.
Online shoppers also said they valued having tracking capabilities to know when their packages would arrive; 46% said receiving their orders when expected would lead them to recommend an online retailer. The ability to reroute a package and schedule a two-hour delivery window is also important for shoppers in the delivery process.
To download a copy of the report, click here.
P&G’s Always, Olympian Veronica Campbell-Brown team up to ‘Pass the Baton’
CINCINNATI — In the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games, Procter & Gamble’s Always feminine care brand has partnered with track and field athlete Veronica Campbell-Brown to start running the Always “Baton Connection” Facebook program.
Always fans can “Pass the Baton” to show their appreciation to those who inspire them. With this passing of a baton, the hope is that recipients will be inspired to do the same.
“I’m supporting this Always program because having strong female role models in my life encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an Olympic athlete,” stated Campbell-Brown, who will be competing in her fourth Olympic Games this July. “Whether it was a small victory or making it to the world’s stage at the Olympic Games, these women like my mom helped me reach my full potential, and I can’t thank them enough.”
A five-time Olympic medalist for Jamaica, Campbell-Brown, who lives and trains in Florida, is the second woman in history to win two consecutive 200-meter events at the Olympic Games.
To “Pass the Baton” to an inspiring woman, visit and “like” the Always Facebook page and “Pass the Baton” to a woman who was a source of help, support or inspiration. If that woman is on Facebook, a notification will pop up to alert her that she has received an Always Baton. The Always Baton Connection Program is only available in the United States for females 18 years of age and older and Canada for females 19 years of age and older.