Chocolate Candy Sales Top $20 Billion: Study
The $20 billion U.S. chocolate candy market, which is mature, differentiated and demanding, is challenging for marketers of chocolate products seeking to distinguish themselves from the competition, according to “Chocolate Candy in the U.S.” report from Packaged Facts.
Packaged Facts estimates the U.S. market for chocolate sold at retail at $19.5 billion in 2011, up 6.6 percent over the previous year. Everyday chocolate, seasonal candies and premium chocolate all posted dollar gains for the market, though driven in part by price increases implemented to offset rises in raw material and other costs.
Chocolate candy is showing particular resilience in convenience stores and natural food stores, according to David Sprinkle, publisher for Packaged Facts. In natural food stores, organic chocolates posted nearly 20 percent growth in 2011, according to SPINSscan data cited in the report. Conventional supermarkets remain the main channel for chocolate sales, followed by convenience stores.
Chocolate is expected to outpace overall food market growth. Packaged Facts identifies the following as factors that will continue to spur dollar gains in the market:
- The success and increasingly widespread acceptance of premium chocolates, spurred both by consumers' desire to indulge in this "affordable luxury" and by the influence of foodie culture
- Growth of chocolate retailers, both through franchise expansion and by successful independent shops looking to expand their footprints
- Continued innovation in packaging and flavors by major and niche chocolate manufacturers alike
- Increased marketing support and advertising expenditures
- Rising prices at retail, driven in part by higher input costs
More information on this report is available on the Packaged Facts website.