Easter 2023 Showed Dollar Growth, While Volume Dipped


Washington — With inflation at a 43-year high, many consumers are being challenged to find ways to save money, with 85 percent making changes to their grocery purchases. Confectionery is not immune to this pressure although candy’s affordable image and America’s love for candy has kept the sales results for the confectionery category far above that of total food and beverages, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, principal, 210 Analytics, LLC. 

Confectionery sales during the seven-week period ending April 9 reflected a number of mixed results. Fewer consumers celebrated the holiday with one or more confectionery purchases. However, consumers who did celebrate spent a little more and in the case of seasonal chocolate bought it more often, Roerink pointed out. 

Total Easter 2023 confectionery sales reached $5.2 billion based on Circana multi-outlet channel data, which was $424 million higher than 2022 Easter sales. Dollar growth contributions came from chocolate, which was up 6.5 percent, while non-chocolate sales jumped 10.9 percent and gum/mints grew 15.5 percent. 

However, the dollar growth was boosted by inflation, with prices up between 12 and 16 percent across items. Both chocolate and non-chocolate experienced unit declines of around 4 percent, according to Circana.

While dollar sales tracked ahead the entire seven-week period, volume sales fell below for each of the weeks for both chocolate and non-chocolate. There were only a few exceptions to these patterns:

  • Seasonal chocolate, especially in the traditional supermarket channel, generated pound growth in the crucial final two weeks leading up to the holiday. 
  • Gift boxes and premium chocolate both grew pound sales — reflecting a return to getting together with friends and family and gatherings outside of the immediate household. 
  • In non-chocolate, several subcategories saw increases in pounds, including novelty candy, caramel/taffy, sugarfree items and plain mints. But it was the 3.3 percent volume decline for the largest segment, chewy candy, that pulled the overall average down to below year-ago levels. 

Online sales once more contributed positively to the season. Dollar sales through all ecommerce channels increased 23.4 percent, far above the rate of inflation, with unit sales increasing nearly 10 percent. While at $419 million online sales remain a fraction of the total market sales, it is clear that ecommerce remains a growth opportunity for the category. 

“With the millennial love for personalized gifts, social media ideas for crafting, decorations, baking, etc. can be great ways to drive a second purchase during the season,” Roerink says. 

Retailers supported the season with an increase in promotions and more aggressive promotional prices, she tells Candy & Snack TODAY. Consumers reported specials as their top way to save money and this was reflected in the increase in promoted and incremental dollars this year. 

For 2024, the number of weeks between Valentine’s Day and Easter will be down to six — signaling that going out early and making sure shelves have inventory through Easter week will be crucially important, Roerink stressed.