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Premium candy sweetens U.S. chocolate market

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ROCKVILLE, Md. — Leading market research firm Packaged Facts estimates total retail dollar sales of the U.S. chocolate candy market will reach $23 billion in 2018, with sales increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 2% between 2013 and 2018. The market estimates are featured in the recently published report Chocolate Candy: U.S. Market Trends and Opportunities, 12th Edition.  The report is the first in a trio of studies by Packaged Facts on the U.S. confectionery market, including upcoming reports on chewing gum and non-chocolate candy.

Looking ahead, Packaged Facts forecasts growth for the chocolate candy market through 2023.

“The chocolate market is indisputably dynamic with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players, and a steady flow of new products that engage diverse groups of consumers,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “There remains consumer devotion to confectionery products and the role of chocolate candy in particular as an accessible luxury, creating many opportunities to trade consumers up to premium products.”

Indeed product premiumization has emerged as a key driving force in the industry’s growth, especially as consumers have discovered the ever expanding selection of premium, indulgent confectionery products available online.

“Online shopping is truly the new playground for premiumization,” says Sprinkle. “Shifts in shopping behavior such as self-checkout and online purchasing have potentially dampened the types of in-store impulse purchases that traditionally drive a high level of chocolate sales. However this is offset to an extent by ecommerce increasing the availability and purchasing of specialty products including local, nostalgic, and premium gift chocolates.”

As to be expected, seasonality also influences consumer purchases of candy and other snack foods. Sales typically spike around holidays due to the common practice of gifting and consuming snacks as part of these celebrations. These factors, coupled with a steadily rising population, confer stability to a U.S. chocolate candy market that is mature yet growing. Packaged Facts estimates that Holiday/Seasonal chocolates account for about a quarter of the market’s sales. Easter is the largest segment followed by Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween.


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