Category Sales Growth Continues In Q1 2021

Cleveland — Confectionery category dollar sales were up 1.8 percent for the 12 weeks ending March 21, 2021, according to data from Information Resources, Inc. Gains in the shorter, four-week period, were even higher, up 4.8 percent — likely related to the earlier Easter holiday, which has a sizable impact on confectionery sales, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, founder and principal for 210 Analytics, LLC.

Chocolate, which has been a pandemic powerhouse, continued to do very well in Q1, up 6.4 percent. During the latest 52 weeks, chocolate increased dollar sales 4.7 percent. Virtually all areas are contributing to the overall sector strength, with particularly high gains for boxed chocolates, up 21.2 percent in the first quarter, as well as novelty, seasonal items and larger pack sizes.

The NCA State of Treating report found that consumers have been buying in larger quantities since the onset of the pandemic to offset fewer store trips and cover multiple consumption occasions.

Non-chocolate also did well, up 4 percent for the 12-week period even though dollar sales for the sector were flat for the 52-week period ending March 21. Contributing to the success were chewy candy, which represents half of the total sales and yet grew 24 percent in the first quarter. Seasonal candy and caramel/taffy were other big areas of growth in the segment.

The grocery channel continues to outpace drug, convenience and other channels with a 52-week dollar sales increase of 5.7 percent for total CMG, which takes into account the declines in gum and mint sales. Chocolate dollar sales for the 52 weeks in the grocery channel were up 10.8 percent and non-chocolate dollar sales were up 6 percent. The drug channel continued to struggle in Q1 while c-stores have begun to gain ground, Roerink notes.