Seasonal Candy Sales Are Up 20%

Iconic holiday retail sets are hot for the 2021 season.

December 21, 2021

Sour Gummy Bears

WASHINGTON—Seasonal candy was up 20% over last year for the five weeks ended Dec. 5, according to IRI Research. Candy USA reports that winter holiday chocolate sales were up more than 16%, and winter holiday non-chocolate sales saw an increase of more than 34% for the same five-week period. (Seasonal candy is defined as products with holiday packaging.)

“Generally, seasonal permissibility is high, with 82% of Americans agreeing that it is OK to enjoy seasonal confectionery during holidays and special occasions,” said Carly Schildhaus, public affairs manager for the National Confectioners Association (NCA), in a recent NACS Magazine article. “Plus, 84% of Americans believe seasonal candies are a fun part of special celebrations, and 78% say sharing and gifting seasonal confectionery is a great American tradition.”

According to NCA, iconic holiday retail sets are hot for the 2021 season, with retailers reinvesting in seasonal chocolate and candy. Total holiday candy offerings are up by more than 9% on average. This seasonal increase in in-store products is driven by nonchocolate products—up by nearly 23%—with holiday chocolate products up by more than 3%.

A recent report by NCA found that sales of chocolate in 2020 were strong, with chocolate accounting for about 60% of all confectionery sales in the U.S. More than 80% of consumers consume chocolate in at least two of the three chocolate segments. Most consumers view chocolate as an occasional treat, partaking in it two to three times a week.

According to NACS research, candy did well in 2020. NACS State of the Industry data showed that candy made up 2.95% of in-store sales and averaged over $79,000 in sales per store last year. In fact, sales increased 1.9% over 2019. In terms of profitability, candy margins usually hover at or above 50%. Learn more about 2020 candy sales and how to turn treats into sweet sales with thoughtful merchandising, seasonal offers and bulk bags in “Candy Crush” in the October 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.