January Sales Show Confectionery Dollars Climbing


Washington — The first month of 2023 is in the books and confectionery sales continue to trend well above prior year levels, based on data from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). Combined candy, gum and mint dollar sales generated $32.4 billion in the 52 weeks ending January 29, which was 11.5 percent ahead of the same time period a year ago.

Gains were similar for the past 12 weeks (up 12.7 percent) and the latest four weeks (up 14.5 percent). The latest four weeks are also a good indication of how Valentine’s Day sales are trending.

However, much like what was seen in the second half of 2022, the gains are inflation-driven, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, 210 Analytics, LLC. The 52-week unit sales picture revealed a drop of 1.9 percent versus the prior year, with grocery stores remaining the largest seller of confectionery items, but convenience stores had above-average growth.

Chocolate remains the top dollar generator at $18.3 billion in the past 52 weeks, which is up 9.3 percent. Only two sub-sectors lost ground in dollars — gift box chocolates and novelty. The areas with the biggest gains were sugarfree, seasonal and snack-size chocolate. Sugarfree chocolate has been the growth leader for several years running.

Chocolate unit sales did not fare as well, down 4.2 percent in the 52-week look, with similar pressure in the 12- and 4-week view. Most areas within chocolate are experiencing unit pressure, with the lone exception of sugarfree chocolate in the four-week view.  

Non-chocolate candy generated $11.1 billion in dollar sales, which represents above-average growth of 14 percent for the latest 52 weeks. All areas contributed in dollar gains, with the biggest increases delivered by novelty, seasonal, caramel/taffy and sugarfree.

In the latest four weeks, non-chocolate candy sales increased 20.3 percent on last year’s record sales, with Valentine’s Day specific candies trending 24.8 percent ahead of last year in the first four of the six holiday weeks. The unit performance for non-chocolate candy was mixed. Areas of unit growth include novelty, mints, seasonal and sugarfree candy.  

Gum continues to recover and reached $2.6 billion in sales. Sugarless gum leads all sales and growth, up 18.2 percent on 2022 levels in dollars, and up 5.2 percent in units.