Washington — Data insights firm Information Resources, Inc. (IRi) released its candy sales numbers through the week ending March 20, 2022. During the latest 52 weeks, total candy, gum and mint sales are pacing 11.5 percent ahead of year ago, while sales during the shorter 12 and four weeks show growth, but gains are no longer in double digits, at 8 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Much of this is the result of the comparison against the very strong Easter 2021 numbers, as well as last year’s earlier Easter timing, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, principle at 210 Analytics, LLC. With the sales volume accelerating in the weeks leading up to the holiday, it is likely that the two extra weeks will make up for the current gap in seasonal item sales, she points out.
Additionally, it is important to note that supply chain challenges are likely to have an impact on seasonal item sales with later shipping and/or reduced ability to deliver on orders.
Chocolate — Chocolate sales are up 9 percent for the 52-week period, but growth slowed to 1.4 percent in the latest four weeks. Additionally, the gains are inflation-driven, says Roerink, explaining that unit sales for chocolate are up 0.7 percent over the 52-week time frame, but dipped below year-ago levels in the four-week look, down 8 percent.
The next few weeks leading up to Easter will provide clarity on the holiday timing’s impact, she says. Much of the slowdown is in seasonal and novelty — underscoring the impact of the 2021 versus 2022 Easter timing. Share bags continue to do extremely well, as does sugarfree chocolate.
Non-Chocolate — Sales patterns are very similar in non-chocolate with gains in all but seasonal-specific items. Areas with above-average performance include hard sugar, chewy and novelty candy. Sales were especially strong in the convenience store channel, Roerink points out. Non-chocolate sales are also boosted by inflation, but the 52-week performance still shows healthy 7.2 percent growth for unit sales. In the latest four weeks, units are down 2.5 percent for non-chocolate.
Gum & Breath Mints — Gum and breath fresheners continue to work on their comeback to pre-pandemic levels. Gum sales are pacing about 15 percent ahead of year ago in the 52-, 12- and four-week periods. Sugarfree gum is both the biggest seller and the fastest grower, confirms Roerink. Gum was the exception in unit sales, with units up 7.2 percent for the 52-week look and up 4.8 percent in the latest four weeks.