Washington — Data insights firm Circana released the numbers for the first month of 2024 and the sales patterns are very similar to those seen in 2023.
Non-chocolate candy and gum continued to record double-digit gains for the 52-weeks ending January 28, 2024, while chocolate dollar sales pulled down the total confectionery average. Convenience store sales experienced above-average growth, but drug stores struggled in several areas. The four January weeks experienced a slight decline in dollar sales, down 0.5 percent, mainly the result of year-over-ear declines in chocolate and gum.
Chocolate sales reached $19.5 billion in the measured channels for the latest 52 weeks. While a record in dollars, unit and volume sales were down. For the full-year view, chocolate unit sales were down 5.4 percent with declines for all sub-categories, with the one exception being seasonal Valentine’s Day chocolate. In the four-week period, unit sales declined by 6.3 percent, despite increases in a few areas, including snack size and novelty chocolate.
The second biggest seller, non-chocolate candy, generated $12.5 billion in the measured channels for the past year. Year-on-year, dollar sales increased 11 percent boosted by substantial price increases. In the shorter four week period, sales increased by 1 percent. Unit sales were down for non-chocolate, in both the shorter and longer-time periods. However, the declines were less than those seen in chocolate, down 1.9 percent for the year and down 5.4 percent for the latest four weeks. A few subcategories experienced unit increases — novelty, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and sugarfree candy.
After being a growth driver for much of 2023, gum unit sales declined across the board in January. This was also the first in many months to experience a decline in dollar sales in comparison to the prior year. In the 52-week period, unit sales for sugarless gum increased 4.7 percent.