Halloween confectionery boom predicted
A (sugar) rush on sales has seen the confectionery market enjoy sweet success over the past number of months with a further surge predicted for halloween.
Ireland has always been a nation of chocolate lovers. We’re the third biggest chocolate eaters in Europe and the average Irish person eats a staggering 17 pounds worth of chocolate every year according to analysis from Euromonitor International.
We’re fond of sweets too, whether it’s tangy jellies, fruity chews or sugary pastilles. And our penchant for sugary treats has taken on even more meaning over the past number of months. Working from home and the uncertainty caused by the pandemic has caused many consumers to reach for their favourite confections out of comfort, or boredom. They’ve sought solace in sugary treats.
Pre-pandemic the Irish confectionery market was booming, valued at €968m in 2018. Chocolate enjoyed the largest market share, while the snack bar category had been registering steady growth since 2010. Pastilles, gums, jellies and chews constituted the leading segment in Sugar Confectionery with a per capita consumption of 1.719 kg, and convenience stores were the second largest distribution channel for the sales of confectionery in Ireland.
During the pandemic, data from IRI reports that globally chocolate candy sales were up 2.7 percent, non-chocolate candy was up 2.4 percent and non-chocolate chewy candy was up 5.2 percent. So, what’s next for confectionery as consumers return to work?
The cooler months always see an uptick in confectionery sales and Halloween offers an obvious boost to sales. Research says Halloween spending nearly doubled between 2013 and 2018, and that consumers spend more on sweets and chocolates than they do on costumes and decorations combined. In Ireland, around €41m is spent on Halloween treats. Celebrations may be scaled back this year, but confectionery sales are still expected to remain high. Mintel predicts that it is individually wrapped treats that will prove the most popular due to hygiene concerns, while sharing options will be less favoured.
While the kids may be chewing on Halloween candies with wild abandon, adults may exercise more caution when it comes to treats. In recent years, confectionery sales have been threatened as sugar has been demonised, and many consumers have looked toward healthier snacking options. While the market has held steady despite health concerns, it has also adapted by bringing out new healthier innovations.
Higher protein and lower calorie snack bars are among some of the most common innovations and have been proving popular with consumers. Pre-pandemic they had been enjoying strong sales, but encountered a drop off during lockdown when consumers weren’t making on-the-go purchases. Sales of healthier confections and sports and nutrition bars are expected to pick back up when people return to work and begin to rely once again on readily available snacks to keep them going throughout the day. It’s predicted consumers will also be influenced by major dietary trends and motivations to lose those pandemic pounds.
Even the most disciplined among us aren’t immune to an occasional impulse purchase, and it is retailers who are clever about their points of display who will see the biggest boost to confectionery sales.
Sweets and chocolates still remain at the top spot for unplanned grocery purchases according to an online study by Shoppercentric. 59 percent of consumers admitted to buying sweets on impulse, while chocolate remained in third place after cakes.
Confectionery, the study found, still relies on classic impulse triggers, with 65 percent of consumers saying they bought chocolate and sweets because they ‘fancied it’. Meanwhile, 38 percent said they purchased confectionery as a treat or reward. Shoppers were also motivated by appealing price points on these items.
For retailers wishing to improve their confectionery sales, it may be a case of giving popular products multiple facings and positioning them at eye level, creating more display space, and arranging products by brand, size and flavour that is the recipe for sweet success.