Non-Chocolate Candy Outperforms Category In February


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Washington — Circana’s confectionery category results for the weeks ending February 25 show a 6.9 percent increase in dollar sales for the past year. Reflecting multi-outlet channels including convenience stores, year-on-year non-chocolate candy dollar gains remained in the double digits (10.1 percent), while chocolate dollar sales grew 4.1 percent.

A comparison of the 52-week period to the latest four weeks shows a deceleration in dollar gains across sectors, driven by declines in unit and volume sales. The early Valentine’s Day season results show the same pattern of dollar gains, but unit and volume pressure, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, of 210 Analytics LLC. 

Rapidly approaching $20 billion in annual sales, the chocolate sector easily remained the top seller. All segments delivered dollar growth, with the exception of sugarfree and gift box chocolate. The largest year-on-year dollar gains were achieved by seasonal chocolate, followed by novelty chocolate. While dollar gains were driven by price increases, unit sales were down for the latest 52 weeks by 5.5 percent. Unit pressure was seen across the board, with seasonal chocolate coming closest to year-ago sales levels. 

Non-chocolate candy continues to grow its share of the market, reaching $12.5 billion in annual sales as of late February. Dollar gains were up 10.1 percent with large contributions by novelty, mints, seasonal, and hard candy. While the non-chocolate sector also experienced unit declines, they were milder than those seen in chocolate.

Non-chocolate unit sales decreased 2 percent in the 52-week period and increased in the latest four weeks — reflecting a strong Valentine’s Day performance. Novelty non-chocolate also grew unit sales in all time periods, up 21 percent for the past year. 

In the gum sector, sugarless items are the strongest contributor to growth. Gum sales have rebounded to $3.4 billion during the 52 weeks ending late February. However, unit sales are no longer keeping pace with year-ago levels, the result of a decline in regular gum sales, says Roerink.