Candy, Gum, Mint Sales Performance Varies Widely Through Mid-June


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Washington — The weeks ending June 16 show a widely varying performance for chocolate, non-chocolate candy, gum and mints in both the shorter- and longer-term time periods. In the latest 52 weeks, Circana data for the multi-outlet universe shows a 4 percent increase in dollars, but 3.8 percent decrease in unit sales as consumers are balancing their budgets. Chocolate sales continued to slow, while non-chocolate candy managed dollar gains in both the four- and 52-week periods, with unit growth in a few segments as well.

Channel performances varied widely as well. Convenience stores, which had been an impressive growth channel in the past few years, have experienced some struggles as the economic impact continues to weigh heavily on consumers’ grocery spending and choices, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, with 210 Analytics, LLC. The c-store channel showed a 5.5 percent year-on-year unit decline in chocolate sales along with a 4 percent unit decline for non-chocolate candy. Grocery stores fared better, with milder unit decreases that were offset by inflation for positive dollar growth. 

Chocolate sales showed a small 1.7 percent increase in the 52-week view in comparison to the prior year, but the shorter timeframes had year-on-year dollar sales trending in the negative. Within the chocolate category, sales results vary widely, with gains for snack size to substantial declines for Easter chocolate.

While prices for chocolate continued to rise, they no longer offset the decline in unit sales, which amounted to a drop of 5.5 percent for the 52-week period and a loss. of 4.8 percent in the latest four weeks. All segments experienced decreases in unit sales in all three time periods (four, 12 and 52 weeks), varying from 0.7 percent for novelty chocolate (a small seller) to a 13.8 percent drop for the sugarfree chocolate segment. 

Dollar sales for non-chocolate candy trended in the positive for all three time periods. Sales increased 6.8 percent for the latest 52 weeks, led by big gains for novelty, seasonal candy, sugarfree candy, and breath fresheners. However, non-chocolate candy also experienced some unit pressure. The declines were milder than those seen in the chocolate sector. In the 52-week period, sales decreased 2.1 percent versus 1.1 percent in the latest four weeks. This points to a more stable demand that includes unit gains for novelty candy. 

After a strong comeback for several years, gum sales are starting to plateau in the shorter term. In the full-year view, dollar sales increased 6.7 percent due to impressive sales growth in sugarfree gum. Unit sales were a different story. In the latest 52 weeks, gum unit sales were down 2.2 percent. Sugarfree gum still had a small 0.6 percent gain year-on-year in the 52-week view, but that was offset by declines in regular gum.