Candy Sales to Hit $5 Billion This Easter, per NCA

C-stores continue to eye the seasonal sales opportunity.

March 21, 2024

Easter is rapidly approaching (it falls on March 31 this year), and American consumers are preparing for the holiday. According to Numerator, 69% of consumers plan to celebrate Easter this year, while 53% of celebrants are planning to buy candy.

Easter is the second-most popular holiday for purchasing candy, following Halloween.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) also released confectionary sales predictions for the upcoming holiday. The NCA reported that chocolate and candy sales this Easter season will surpass $5 billion.

John Downs, president and CEO of the NCA, said, “The Easter season signals the start of spring—and is a perfect showcase of the continued excitement consumers have for incorporating chocolate and candy into their special occasions. No matter what treats they prefer, Americans can agree that every celebration is sweeter with chocolate and candy."

The top seasonal treats, according to the NCA, are:

  • Chocolate eggs or bunnies
  • Jelly beans
  • Candy-coated eggs
  • Marshmallow candy

Numerator found that 60% of celebrators plan to gather with family and friends (vs. 57% in 2023), 40% plan to cook or bake (vs. 34% in 2023), and 21% plan to decorate their homes (vs. 19% in 2023). Giving gifts is the only celebration intention that saw a decrease among consumers (18% in 2024 vs. 20% in 2023).

Last year, in the four-week lead up to the holiday, the majority of U.S. households (86%) bought candy. For all candy, the top brands by sales were perennial favorites: Reese’s, M&M’s, Hershey’s, private label and Wrigleys.

Additionally, last year Walmart, Target, Dollar Tree, Kroger and Dollar General were the top candy retailers leading up to Easter based on dollar sales—but the biggest sales lifts were seen by discount retailers Aldi (+76%) and Five Below (+60%).

Overall, chocolate and candy sales hit a record $49 billion in sales in 2023, according to the NCA.

NIQ data (NIQ Total US xAOC+Convenience, 52 Weeks Ending 11/25/2023) shows that the convenience channel has abundant room to grow when it comes to seasonal sales. For example, according to NIQ data, Americans spent $2 billion on Halloween candy in 2023; only $33 million of that was at c-stores. According to NIQ, c-stores capturing their fair share of seasonal sales represents a $1 billion opportunity.