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Seasonal Chocolate - US - August 2011

  • As seasonal chocolate is an indulgent treat, what are manufacturers doing to encourage usage at a time when the media has been extensively covering the country’s obesity problem?
  • What are manufacturers doing in order to identify and maximize opportunities presented by socioeconomic, gender, race/ethnicity, and other demographic factors?
  • Where are consumers most likely to buy seasonal chocolate products, and what kind of impact does this have on overall buying behavior?
  • Given the challenging economy, what kind of shifts in buying behavior have been seen during the past year? Are these anomalies, or the beginning of long-term trends?

This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Seasonal Chocolate—U.S., August 2010, and the same title in August 2006.

For the purposes of this report, seasonal chocolate includes chocolate confections that are marketed for a specific holiday (eg, Christmas, Halloween). The marketing includes packaging claims/customization, advertising, and/or content that would identify the chocolate as being meant for a specific holiday. The report focuses on five segments:

  • Easter chocolate
  • Christmas chocolate
  • Valentine’s Day chocolate
  • Halloween chocolate
  • Other seasonal chocolate.

Other seasonal chocolate combines other general holidays, as in St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Independence Day, and general seasons, such as summer, fall, spring, and winter.

Only chocolate that is strictly positioned as “seasonal” through packaging, promotion, flavor/variety, or other indicators is included in this report. This means, for example, that sales of yellow, red, and orange M&M’s with Halloween-themed overwrap are included, while sales of the same yellow, red, and orange M&M’s with no specific holiday designation on the packaging are not included.

“Generic gift box” chocolate that could be sold at any season (eg, Whitman’s Sampler) or other chocolate confections that could be given as a substitute for seasonal chocolate (eg, regular Hershey’s chocolate given as Halloween treats) are also excluded from the scope of this report.

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer data
              • Advertising clips
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Seasonal chocolate continues modest upward trend
                        • Segment performance led by Easter and Christmas chocolate
                          • Rising commodity costs not an ideal situation during difficult economy
                            • Decline in households with children reduces potential target audiences
                              • Social media and websites connecting manufacturers with consumer
                                • The seasonal chocolate consumer
                                • Insights and Opportunities

                                  • Manufacturers should tap into consumers’ interest in healthier treats
                                    • Personalized seasonal chocolate as a gift idea
                                      • Single-origin chocolate may offer multiple opportunities for growth
                                        • Seasonal chocolate that doubles as a toy
                                          • Develop “other” holidays into seasonal chocolate buying opportunities
                                          • Inspire Insights

                                              • Trend: Extend My Brand
                                              • Market Size and Forecast

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Sales expected to reach new high in 2011
                                                    • Figure 1: Total U.S. retail sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                    • Figure 2: Total U.S. retail sales of seasonal chocolate, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2006-16
                                                  • Fan-chart forecast
                                                      • Figure 3: Fan chart forecast of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                    • Walmart sales
                                                    • Market Drivers

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Implementing price increases, package size reductions proves challenging
                                                          • Figure 4: Real disposable income, 2007-11*
                                                          • Figure 5: Consumer sentiment index, January 2008-July 2011
                                                        • As number of households with children declines, so does the target audience
                                                          • Figure 6: Households by presence of children, 1999-2009
                                                        • Growth of black and Hispanic populations could favor market
                                                          • Figure 7: Population by race/Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                        • Frequent consumption indicates potential for more buying occasions
                                                          • Figure 8: Attitudes toward sweets, by various demographics, October 2009-December 2010
                                                      • Competitive Context

                                                        • Key points
                                                          • Interest in healthier treats growing at seasonal chocolate’s expense
                                                            • Online retailing a threat to FDMx seasonal chocolate sales
                                                              • Novelty candy’s fun factor a threat to seasonal chocolate
                                                              • Segment Performance

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • Easter chocolate sales hopping along
                                                                    • Figure 9: FDMx sales of seasonal chocolate, by segment, 2009-11
                                                                • Segment Performance—Easter Chocolate

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Easter chocolate sales spring forward
                                                                      • Figure 10: FDMx sales of Easter chocolate, 2006-16
                                                                  • Segment Performance—Christmas Chocolate

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Christmas chocolate expected to hit new high in 2011
                                                                        • Figure 11: FDMx sales and forecast of Christmas chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                    • Segment Performance—Valentine’s Day Chocolate

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Consumers falling in love again with Valentine’s Day chocolate for 2011
                                                                          • Figure 12: FDMx sales and forecast of Valentine’s Day chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                      • Segment Performance—Halloween Chocolate

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Halloween chocolate sales slide is scary
                                                                            • Figure 13: FDMx sales and forecast of Halloween chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                        • Segment Performance—Other Seasonal Chocolate

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Segment growing, but trailing 2006 sales level
                                                                              • Figure 14: FDMx sales and forecast of other seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-16
                                                                          • Retail Channels

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Supercenters/warehouse clubs exclusive members of $1 billion club
                                                                                • Figure 15: Total U.S. sales of seasonal chocolate, by channel, 2009 and 2011
                                                                              • Channel sales, 2006-11
                                                                                • Figure 16: Supercenters and warehouse club sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                • Figure 17: Supermarket/food store sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                • Figure 18: Drug store sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                • Figure 19: Confectionery/gourmet/ specialty store sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                                • Figure 20: Other retailers’ sales of seasonal chocolate, at current prices, 2006-11
                                                                            • Leading Companies

                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                • The Hershey Company builds on its leadership position
                                                                                    • Figure 21: Manufacturer FDMx sales of seasonal chocolate in the U.S., 2010 and 2011
                                                                                • Brand Share—Easter Chocolate

                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                    • The Hershey Company is segment’s new number one
                                                                                      • Figure 22: Selected FDMx brand sales of Easter chocolate, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                  • Brand Share—Christmas Chocolate

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Premium companies and upscale brands driving segment
                                                                                        • Figure 23: Selected FDMx brand sales of Christmas chocolate, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                    • Brand Share—Valentine’s Day Chocolate

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Love of Russell Stover makes it the new number one manufacturer for Valentine’s Day chocolate
                                                                                          • Figure 24: Selected FDMx brand sales of Valentine’s Day chocolate, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                      • Brand Share—Halloween Chocolate

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Halloween chocolate sees decline
                                                                                            • Figure 25: Selected FDMx brand sales of Halloween chocolate, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                        • Brand Share—Other Seasonal Chocolate

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Strong growth may attract bigger name manufacturers
                                                                                              • Figure 26: Selected FDMx brand sales of other seasonal chocolate, 2010 and 2011
                                                                                          • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Kosher claims account for largest share of 2006-11 launches
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Seasonal chocolate product launches, by top claims, 2006-11
                                                                                                • Name brands dominate seasonal chocolate product launches
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Private label share among new seasonal chocolate product launches, 2006-11
                                                                                                • The Hershey Company tops in sales and product launches
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Top five companies/top three brands, by new seasonal chocolate product launches, 2006-11
                                                                                                • Product innovations
                                                                                                  • Mainstream brands
                                                                                                    • Premium
                                                                                                      • Character-based
                                                                                                        • Natural/organic
                                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • NCA aims to sweeten candy’s appeal
                                                                                                              • Direct-to-consumer marketing viable option for seasonal chocolate makers
                                                                                                                • Mars’ success with personalized M&M’s may encourage expansion
                                                                                                                  • The Hershey Company and Peeps use Facebook to hatch Easter campaigns
                                                                                                                    • Hershey’s holiday-oriented promotional website
                                                                                                                      • Television advertising
                                                                                                                        • Custom-printed M&M’s
                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: M&M’s, “Personalized M&M’s,” November 2010
                                                                                                                        • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis
                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, “Hors D’oeuvres,” November 2010
                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, “Santa can be bought,” November 2010
                                                                                                                        • Hershey’s Kisses
                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: Hershey’s kisses, “Easter Basket,” March 2011
                                                                                                                      • Chocolate/Candy Consumption and Purchase Behavior

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Younger consumers (18-34) are the most frequent buyers of chocolate and non-chocolate candy
                                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Chocolate/candy purchase behavior, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Chocolate/candy purchase behavior, by presence of children, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Holidays a major motivation for candy buying
                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Chocolate/candy purchases for holidays, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Chocolate/candy purchases for holidays, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Chocolate/candy purchases for holidays, by presence of children, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Halloween scares up largest average number of candy packages sold
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Purchase volume by holiday, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Purchase volume by holiday, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                          • Who Consumers Buy Seasonal Candy For

                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                • Children at the top of the candy gift-giving list
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 41: Who consumers buy seasonal candy for, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Younger buyers most likely to “gift” chocolate in seasonal packaging
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 42: Who consumers buy seasonal candy for, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                    • Figure 43: Who consumers buy seasonal candy for, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Lack of seasonal packaging not a deterrent with gift giving
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Who consumers buy seasonal candy for, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                  • Outlets Where Consumers Buy Seasonal Chocolate

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Mass merchandisers generate highest percentage of seasonal chocolate sales occasions
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 45: Outlets where consumers buy seasonal chocolate, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 46: Outlets where consumers buy seasonal chocolate, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 47: Outlets where consumers buy seasonal chocolate, by presence of children, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                        • Purchase Timing When Buying Seasonal Chocolate

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Most consumers wait until holiday nears before buying seasonal chocolate
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Purchase timing when buying seasonal chocolate, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Purchase timing when buying seasonal chocolate, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                            • Shifts in Purchases in Last Year

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Healthier treats may pose a threat to seasonal chocolate business
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 50: Shifts in purchases in last year, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 51: Shifts in purchases in last year—seasonal chocolate, by age and household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 52: Shifts in purchases in last year—premium and healthy, by age and household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                • What Matters to Holiday Chocolate Buyers

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • Gift recipient influences attributes most important to buyers
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: What matters to holiday chocolate buyers, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: What matters to holiday chocolate buyers—top three answers, by age, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: What matters to holiday chocolate buyers—top three answers, by household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                        • Hispanics are the most frequent candy purchasers
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Chocolate/candy purchase behavior, by race/Hispanic origin, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Purchase volume by holiday, by race/Hispanic origin, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Outlets where consumers buy seasonal chocolate, by race/Hispanic origin, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Purchase timing when buying seasonal chocolate, by race/Hispanic origin, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                          • Unchanged Middlemen
                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                  • Infrequent Thrifties
                                                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                          • Upward Spenders
                                                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Chocolate/candy purchase behavior, by custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Who consumers buy seasonal chocolate for, by custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Purchase timing when buying seasonal chocolate, by custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 64: Shifts in purchases in last year, by custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 65: Purchase volume by holiday, by custom clusters, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 66: Custom clusters, by gender, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 67: Custom clusters, by age, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Custom clusters, by household income, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Custom clusters, by race, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Custom clusters, by Hispanic origin, May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Usage and attitudes among heavy, medium, and light users
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Heavy purchasers big seasonal candy buyers regardless of packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 71: Chocolate/candy purchases for holidays, by custom consumer groups, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Mass merchandisers connect with all usage groups
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Outlets where consumers buy seasonal chocolate, by custom consumer groups, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Heavy purchasers increasing seasonal chocolate buying occasions
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 73: Shifts in purchases in last year—seasonal chocolate, by custom consumer groups, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Recessionary environment impacting seasonal chocolate category
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 74: Shifts in purchases in last year—brands/promotions, by custom consumer groups, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Chocolate purchasers opting for healthier treats, not so much fair trade and premium items
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 75: Shifts in purchases in last year—premium and healthy, by custom consumer groups, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                              • SymphonyIRI/Builders—Key Household Purchase Measures

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Overview of chocolate candy
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Easter chocolate
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—Easter chocolate
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 76: Brand map, selected brands of Easter chocolate, buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 77: Key purchase measures for the top brands of Easter chocolate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Christmas chocolate
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer insights on key purchase measures—Christmas chocolate
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand map
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 78: Brand map, selected brands of Christmas chocolate, buying rate by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Brand leader characteristics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key purchase measures
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Key purchase measures for the top brands of Christmas chocolate, by household penetration, 2010*
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Mintel’s custom consumer survey
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Seasonal candy purchase volume by holiday and spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 80: Purchase volume by holiday, by presence of children, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Shifts in seasonal chocolate buying behavior
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 81: Shifts in purchases in last year—brands/promotions, by age and household income, April/May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Experian Simmons study
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Low-fat/fat-free product usage
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mail/phone/internet ordering in last year
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Mail/phone/internet ordering in last year, by gender, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ferrero U.S.A. Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Godiva Chocolatier
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Hershey Company, The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Joyva Corp
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Kraft Foods Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lake Champlain Chocolates
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lindt & Sprüngli (US)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Mars Incorporated
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • National Confectioners Association
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • National Retail Federation (NRF)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Nestlé USA
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Russell Stover Candies Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Weight Watchers International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Whole Foods Market Inc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seasonal Chocolate - US - August 2011

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