By: Danielle Romano | March 25, 2024

U.S. confectionery sales are expected to hit $61 billion by 2028.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite unpredictable economic shifts, consumers are still holding strong to their connection to chocolate and candy.

Confectionery sales hit $48 billion in 2023, a number largely driven by inflation, according to the “2024 State of Treating” report published by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Last year, more than 98% of American consumers purchased chocolate, candy, gum and mints.

The report projects that U.S. confectionery sales will reach $61 billion by 2028.

“Our new research shows that, even when faced with unpredictable environmental shifts and changes, consumers feel a strong connection to chocolate and candy — and they embrace classic favorites and innovative novelties with an emotional drive that keeps the category fresh and vibrant,” said John Downs, president and CEO of NCA. “Consumers seek out chocolate and candy to help enhance holiday seasons, family celebrations and those important ‘treat yourself’ moments.”

NCA 2024 State of Treating_Category Performance

The fifth annual “State of Treating” reflects on confectionery shopping and treating trends in 2023 — a year defined by inflation. Leveraging the long trendlines, the report documents what changed and why in confectionery shoppers’ perceptions, attitudes and behaviors to help uncover category growth opportunities in 2024 and beyond.

[Read more: Consumers’ Definition of Value Expands Beyond Price]

Other findings of the report include:

  • Shopping: The marketplace prompted 41% of consumers to make changes to their confectionery purchases over the past year. Sales promotions took on a key role as fewer consumers perceive chocolate and candy to be as affordable as it has been traditionally.
  • Purchase decisions: Price now dominates the confectionery purchase decision across all generations. Overall, brand is the second-most important factor when purchasing confectionery.
  • Permissibility: Confectionery enjoys very high permissibility with 86% believing it is perfectly fine to treat.
  • Reasons to splurge: Nine in 10 shoppers can be persuaded to spend a little more on chocolate or candy than planned.
  • Seasonality: More than eight in 10 Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and the winter holidays. Together, these holidays account for 64% of total confectionery sales.

The “State of Treating” combines proprietary NCA consumer survey findings with syndicated data provided by Circana and Euromonitor. Shopper insights were collected using an online survey conducted in December 2023 among a national sample of 1,556 consumers between the ages of 18 and 75. The survey findings are overlaid with Circana retail measurement and household panel data. Future market predictions are provided by Euromonitor. The study was conducted by 210 Analytics.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NCA is a leading trade organization for the $48 billion U.S. confectionery industry.

Source: Convenience Store News