Washington — Sales of confectionery, including chocolate, candy, gum and mints, reached $34.4 billion for the 52 weeks ending September 10, according to data from Circana. Contributions from each sector were very different, notes Anne-Marie Roerink, of 210 Analytics, LLC, who says there was above-average performance for non-chocolate candy and gum.
Performances by channel were also uneven, with convenience stores showing the strongest growth, while drug stores delivered a below-average performance. Much like the results seen this year-to-date, the dollar growth was generated by inflation, while unit sales have dropped below year-ago levels, down 2.8 percent for the total category.
For the 52-week period, chocolate sales reached $19 billion, marking the first time in a long time that the chocolate dollar growth rate dropped to single digits, up just 8.9 percent. Dollar growth dropped to 5.4 percent in the 13-week period and 1.8 percent in the short, four-week period. While overall chocolate dollar growth has slowed, several areas are still trending in the double digits, including snack-size chocolate and seasonal. The slowdown in dollar growth is caused by mounting unit pressure, explains Roerink. Chocolate unit sales were down 5.1 percent across the 52-week period, but have grown 7.8 percent when looking at just the latest four weeks.
Non-chocolate candy continued to have a strong performance in dollar sales, with the 52-week period showing gains of 15.2 percent. Additionally, all areas within non-chocolate experienced growth, with above-average gains for novelty, mints, seasonal and sugarfree candy. The strength of novelty candy is further shown with a substantial increase in unit sales as well, points out Roerink. Other subcategories with unit gains include breath fresheners, seasonal candy and sugarfree. Overall, non-chocolate candy had a decline of 0.7 percent in unit sales.
Gum continues its recovery toward pre-pandemic levels with double-digit gains in the four-, 13- and 52-week periods. Sales are led by sugarless both in the size of the market and the growth percentage. Sugarless gum dollar sales grew 19.7 percent during the past year and units improved by 8.2 percent. With the continued unit and dollar growth, the total gum category reached $3.3 billion in sales.