Category Dollar Sales Slow; Non-Chocolate, Gum Make Gains


Washington — Data insights firm Circana’s performance results for the 52 weeks ending October 8 show confectionery dollar sales continue to grow by double digits, up 11 percent. However, in the latest four weeks, dollar sales growth slowed to just 3.2 percent.

Sustained inflation in confectionery and virtually all categories around the store is prompting 92 percent of consumers to make changes to what, where and how much they buy when shopping for groceries, reports Anne-Marie Roerink, of 210 Analytics, LLC. This has had to substantial changes in the dollar distribution across channels, the share of sales generated by private brands and consumers’ pack size strategies, she explains. But more than anything, consumers have reduced the number of items they purchase, while shopping more stores and more often. 

Confectionery unit sales are down 3 percent in the 52-week term and 6 percent for the most recent four weeks. Unlike prior time periods, both chocolate and non-chocolate trended in negative territory for unit sales, though the declines in chocolate were more substantial. Convenience stores continued to have the best performance among trade classes, though unit sales shrunk there as well. 

Throughout the year, chocolate has been experiencing above-average dollar and unit pressure. While dollar sales continued to grow, it is fully driven by inflation with units down 5.3 for the 52-week period and 7.7 percent in the most recent four weeks. With the exception of seasonal chocolate during the winter holidays and Valentine’s Day, all areas within chocolate are experiencing similar losses.

Non-chocolate candy remains an above-average performer in both dollar and unit sales growth, however, it too is no longer keeping up with year-ago levels. While the declines are more modest than those seen in chocolate, they are also accelerating over time. For instance, the 52-week view shows non-chocolate candy units down 1.1 percent, while the most recent four weeks shows a decline of 5.3 percent. 

Sugarless gum is a bright spot within confectionery sales, in dollars and units, and in the shorter- and longer-term periods. Units and dollars continue to climb their way back to pre-pandemic levels.