NCA Report: Seasonal Confectionery Is Key Category, Business Driver


Washington — Seasonal chocolate and candy drive confectionery sales according to consumers who view these treats as a key part of their celebrations, according to a new report released by NCA. The report found that 64 percent of total chocolate and candy sales are attributed to the big four seasons — Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and the winter holidays. The association notes that this allows for merchandising opportunities that ensure confectionery products continue to enhance special occasions and that the category remains strong year-round.

NCA’s new report, Getting to Know Seasonal Chocolate & Candy Consumers, offers an in-depth look at the trends, attitudes and behaviors related to confectionery treating during the four main seasonal moments, as well as secondary seasons and micro-occasions including Mother’s Day and back-to-school.

The report also explores innovation and merchandising opportunities for manufacturers and retailers related to introducing new seasonal products to shoppers. The NCA says this is especially important since 88 percent of consumers indicate that they like to see new items when browsing for seasonal chocolate and candy.

“Seasonal treating is deeply rooted in tradition and elicits memories of happy times, sharing with loved ones and an unmatched feeling of nostalgia,” says John Downs, president and CEO of NCA. “Given the important role that chocolate and candy play in the seasons, it’s no surprise that the category enjoys a high rate of permissibility, with 96 percent of U.S. consumers in agreement that it is perfectly fine to enjoy some treats during the holidays. Even in challenging economic times, consumers are celebrating and making room in their budgets for the affordable luxury of chocolate and candy.”

The research finds that 94 percent of Americans say seasonal treats help to create memories, which means the time-honored tradition of sharing a little bit of confectionery is an important consideration for consumers when they purchase chocolate and candy.

Getting to Know Seasonal Chocolate & Candy Consumers shares key insights for confectionery manufacturers and retailers as they consider the future of seasonal treating, including identifying opportunities to ensure that Gen Z and Millennials build the same emotional connections to chocolate and candy as older generations.

The full Getting to Know Seasonal Chocolate & Candy Consumers report is available to NCA member companies and retailers online. Key insights from the research can be found in the report’s executive summary.

The survey was conducted in August 2023 by 3 by 210 Analytics, LLC with sales data overlay by Circana. The sample of 1,604 individuals mirrors the U.S. population in terms of key demographics, including age, income, ethnicity and region.