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Consumers to Buy More than $2.1 Billion of Halloween Candy: Study

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- There's nothing scary about Halloween, if you ask a retailer. Halloween generates the greatest sales volume of sweets for the entire year -- and this holiday season U.S. consumers are expected to purchase more than $2.1 billion in candy, according to the Nielsen Co.

"There's no doubt about it -- when doorbells ring on Oct. 31, consumers respond with candy, and lots of it," said Todd Hale, s.v.p. of consumer & shopping insights, Nielsen Consumer Panel Services, in a statement.

One of the major trends for Halloween '07 will be miniature candies, noted Hale. "The quantities are big, but the sizes are small. Our review of the Halloween season shows that the overwhelming majority of consumers choose to give miniature candy to trick-or-treaters."

Chocolate and non-chocolate miniature candy generated more than a third (39 percent) of its annual dollar sales during the Halloween season last year, in comparison to the total candy category, which saw 22 percent of annual dollar sales in the same period, according to Nielsen data.

Nielsen also found that sales jump during Halloween for other spooky and savory items. For instance, 89 percent of annual costume hair coloring sales occur during the 10 weeks leading up to and including Halloween, as do 36 percent of sales of both refrigerated and shelved ciders and 28 percent of lollipops.

While shoppers nationwide are adding candy to their shopping carts, Nielsen's analysis of 52 major
U.S. markets shows that residents of the Salt Lake City/Boise metropolitan area bought 80 percent more candy than would be expected for a market its size, followed by Seattle and Portland.

Regardless of their location, shoppers appear to leave their Halloween candy purchases until almost the last minute. Nielsen's data shows that Oct. 29 and April 15 (the day before Easter Sunday) were the top two days in terms of dollar sales last year. Halloween - - October 31 - - also ranks in the top 10.

Additional key findings include:
-- Ninety-seven percent of households purchase candy at least once during the year.
-- The average candy-buying household spent $74.68 during the year on candy and purchased candy 19.2 times per year.
-- Eighty-five percent of all candy buyers purchased candy in grocery stores.
-- Twenty-four percent of all candy dollar purchases involved a consumer-perceived deal, such as coupons or store deals.
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