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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Chocolate Confectionery: Incl Impact of COVID-19 - US market, and the behaviours, statistics, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Chocolate confectionery sales are flat when adjusted for inflation. The quest for sugar reduction and a range of snack competitors has resulted in household penetration declines. Consumers who have increased their chocolate consumption attribute it to a pursuit of convenience and to a better variety of flavors. The COVID-19 pandemic will challenge some parts of the category and provide a needed boost to others. In general, consumers will turn to chocolate for familiarity and comfort, making snack size offerings a solid bet. However, strong seasonal players may see a dip, due to consumers staying home and prioritizing essentials.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Beth Bloom, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Chocolate confectionery is a mature category that’s seeing some of its strong grip on the hearts of consumers loosen. As other snack categories make a play for indulgence, and offer BFY positioning, consumers are playing the field. While the COVID-19 pandemic will be a good reminder that little hits the spot in the way chocolate does, the category will need to brace for a return to normalcy, redoubling efforts to provide enjoyment, and provide options for responsible snacking Beth Bloom
Associate Director - Food & Drink

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Market overview
              • Figure 1: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
            • Top takeaways
              • Impact of COVID-19 on chocolate confectionery
                • Figure 2: Short-, medium- and longer-term impact of COVID-19 on chocolate confectionery, May 2020
              • The issues
                • Chocolate confectionery wins among sweet treats, but could use a boost
                  • Sugar avoidance is real
                    • Figure 3: Reasons for eating less chocolate confectionery, February 2020
                  • Little guys have a steep uphill climb, but can gain footing
                    • Figure 4: Chocolate confectionery purchase factors, February 2020
                  • The opportunities
                    • Seasonal and sugar free segments see strongest growth
                      • Figure 5: Total US sales of chocolate confectionery, by segment share, 2017-19
                    • Packaging and flavor innovation can be differentiators
                      • Figure 6: Reasons for eating more chocolate confectionery, February 2020
                    • Boosting online sales of chocolate
                      • Figure 7: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, February 2020
                  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Chocolate Confectionery

                      • Figure 8: Short, medium and longer term impact of COVID-19 on chocolate confection, May 2020
                    • Opportunities and Threats
                      • Consumers are eating their feelings
                        • Figure 9: Snack motivations, November 2018
                      • Brand pecking order could be up for grabs
                        • Figure 10: Perception of food/drink brands, February 2019
                      • eChocolate and DTC meet consumer cravings where they need them
                        • Figure 11: Coronavirus lifestyle changes – online shopping, May 28, 2020-June 4, 2020
                      • Snack sizes should crawl out of slump
                        • Seasonal will need some extra attention
                          • Sooner than later we’ll have to put our real clothes on
                            • Impact on the chocolate confectionery market
                              • Category should see a welcomed 2020 bump from COVID-19, but not all segments will be treated equally
                                • Figure 12: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                              • How the crisis will affect chocolate confectionery’s key consumers
                                • Young shoppers may be drawn further toward PL and value snacks
                                  • Chocolaty reward systems now adult friendly
                                    • How a COVID-19 recession will reshape the chocolate confectionery industry
                                      • Longer-term financial strain on individuals will extend to discretionary purchases
                                        • COVID-19: Chocolate confectionery context
                                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                          • Chocolate confectionery sales tempered amid a bustling snack market
                                            • Growth in seasonal and sugar free highlights interest in variety, health
                                              • Snack categories only manage small gains during a snack heyday
                                                • Majority of consumers are limiting sugar consumption
                                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                                    • Chocolate confectionery limited to slow creep amid snack boom
                                                      • Figure 13: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                      • Figure 14: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                  • Market Breakdown

                                                    • Seasonal and sugar-free segments see strongest growth
                                                      • Figure 15: Total US sales of chocolate confectionery, by segment share, 2017-19
                                                    • Declines in snack size should be recovered due to COVID-19
                                                      • Gift boxes could also use the pandemic as a time of reinvention
                                                        • Figure 16: Total US sales and forecast of chocolate confectionery, by segment, 2014-24
                                                      • Drug stores lose share of chocolate confectionery sales
                                                        • Figure 17: Total US retail sales of chocolate confectionery, by channel, at current prices, 2017 and 2019
                                                    • Market Perspective

                                                      • Snack boom doesn’t ensure boom times for all snack categories
                                                        • Figure 18: Percentage growth in select snack categories, 2014-19
                                                        • Figure 19: Dessert and confection consumption, March 2020
                                                      • Get the other snack categories covered
                                                      • Market Factors

                                                        • Majority of consumers aim to follow a healthy diet; sugar reduction is a primary focus
                                                          • Figure 20: Sweetener usage trend, September 2018
                                                        • Where chocolate doesn’t convey health, it can suffice for wellbeing
                                                            • Figure 21: 2020 health and wellness goals – Any do (net), November 2019
                                                          • Fun and function are on par for snackers
                                                            • Figure 22: Snack motivations, November 2018
                                                        • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                          • Hershey continues category dominance, private label sees strong growth
                                                            • Sugar content going in the wrong direction
                                                              • Plain chocolate leads among launches, but innovation points to variety
                                                                • Ethical claims on the rise, should stick around
                                                                • Company and Brand Sales of Chocolate Confectionery

                                                                  • Hershey continues category dominance, private label sees strong growth
                                                                    • Figure 23: Share of sales chocolate confectionery, by company, 52 weeks ending February 23, 2020
                                                                    • Figure 24: Sales of chocolate confectionery, by company, 52 weeks ending February 24, 2019 and 52 weeks ending February 23, 2020
                                                                • What’s Working

                                                                  • Four in 10 chocolate launches are seasonal
                                                                    • Figure 25: Chocolate launches, by sub-category, 2018-20*
                                                                  • Ethical claims rise to the top
                                                                    • Figure 26: Chocolate launches, by leading claims, 2018-20*
                                                                  • No added sugar claims grows by 247%, but more can be done
                                                                    • Figure 27: Chocolate launches, by fasted growing claims, 2018-20*
                                                                    • Figure 28: Chocolate launches, by sugar total, 2018-20*
                                                                    • Figure 29: Multi-outlet sales of sugar free chocolate confectionery, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                  • Plain chocolate leads, fast growing flavors show needed variety
                                                                    • Figure 30: Chocolate launches, by leading flavors, 2018-20*
                                                                    • Figure 31: Chocolate launches, by fastest growing flavors, 2018-20*
                                                                  • Good value drives purchase intent
                                                                    • Trustworthy brands provide value, encourage trial
                                                                      • Private label success points to shifting priorities
                                                                        • Figure 32: Multi-outlet sales of box/bag/bar >3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • Figure 33: Multi-outlet sales of box/bag/bar <3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                    • What’s Struggling

                                                                      • Private label seasonal loses interest
                                                                        • Figure 34: Multi-outlet sales of seasonal chocolate confectionery, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                      • Snack size stalls at MULO
                                                                        • Figure 35: Multi-outlet sales of snack size chocolate confectionery, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                      • Gift boxes nose dive, a refresh is in order
                                                                        • Figure 36: Multi-outlet sales of chocolate gift boxes, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                      • Health driven by healthy mix-ins and diet tie-ins, hampered by price
                                                                      • What to Watch

                                                                        • Could honey hit the sweet spot?
                                                                          • Specialized diet offerings could lead to mainstream innovation
                                                                            • Dairy free is a natural area of opportunity
                                                                              • Will ruby chocolate find a home in the US?
                                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                • Household penetration of chocolate confectionery has dipped since 2018
                                                                                  • A quarter of chocolate eaters have more recently increased consumption
                                                                                    • Increased snacking drives increased chocolate consumption, not enough
                                                                                      • Store brands don’t have strong resonance, for now
                                                                                        • Chocolate confectionery needs to strengthen case as treat of choice
                                                                                        • Chocolate Confectionery Consumption

                                                                                            • Household penetration of chocolate confectionery dips
                                                                                              • Figure 37: Chocolate confectionery purchase, February 2018 and February 2020
                                                                                            • Small sizes appeal to women
                                                                                              • Figure 38: Share of chocolate purchase – for self, by gender, February 2020
                                                                                            • Reinventing the boxed segment could find favor with under 45s
                                                                                              • Figure 39: Share of chocolate purchase – for self, by age, February 2020
                                                                                            • Snack size finds particular interest among parents
                                                                                              • Figure 40: Chocolate purchase, by parental status, February 2020
                                                                                              • Figure 41: Chocolate purchase – for child, February 2020
                                                                                            • Chocolate eaters like variety
                                                                                              • Figure 42: Repertoire analysis – Chocolate purchase – For myself, February 2020
                                                                                            • Solid chocolate leads, followed by nut mix-ins
                                                                                              • Figure 43: Perceptions of candy types – Something I eat, February 2020
                                                                                            • Women are strong target for simple options
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Perceptions of candy types – Something I eat, by gender, February 2020
                                                                                            • Hispanics gravitate toward nut mix-ins
                                                                                              • Figure 45: Perceptions of candy types – Something I eat, by Hispanic origin, February 2020
                                                                                          • Change in Chocolate Confectionery Consumption

                                                                                              • A quarter of chocolate eaters have increased consumption in the past year
                                                                                                • Figure 46: Change in chocolate confectionery consumption, February 2020
                                                                                              • Increased snacking drives increased chocolate consumption
                                                                                                • Figure 47: Reasons for eating more chocolate confectionery, February 2020
                                                                                              • Men are driving the increase in chocolate consumption
                                                                                                • Figure 48: Change in chocolate confectionery consumption, by gender, February 2020
                                                                                              • Category health innovation not resonating with women
                                                                                                • Figure 49: Reasons for eating more chocolate confectionery, by gender, February 2020
                                                                                              • Time savings and variety appeal to under 45s
                                                                                                • Figure 50: Reasons for eating more chocolate confectionery, by age, February 2020
                                                                                              • Sugar avoidance challenges chocolate consumption
                                                                                                • Figure 51: Reasons for eating less chocolate confectionery, February 2020
                                                                                              • Older shoppers are health aware, younger shoppers price conscious
                                                                                                • Figure 52: Reasons for eating less chocolate confectionery, by age, February 2020
                                                                                            • Types of Chocolate Confectionery Purchased

                                                                                              • Style
                                                                                                • Milk chocolate leads, but variety will help spur trial
                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - style, February 2020
                                                                                                • Interest in dark chocolate grows with age
                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - style, by age, February 2020
                                                                                                • Parents can be targeted with products across the range
                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - style, by parental status, February 2020
                                                                                                • Dark chocolate not as likely to resonate with Hispanic shoppers
                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - style, by Hispanic origin, February 2020
                                                                                                • Seasonal
                                                                                                  • Christmas and Valentine’s lead seasonal purchase
                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Seasonal, February 2020
                                                                                                  • Women likely look to holidays for permission to indulge
                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Seasonal, by gender, February 2020
                                                                                                  • Seasonal options are a luxury of higher-earning households
                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Seasonal, by HH income, February 2020
                                                                                                  • Parents are strong targets for seasonal purchase
                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Seasonal, by parental status, February 2020
                                                                                                  • Features
                                                                                                    • Store brands don’t have strong resonance, for now
                                                                                                      • Figure 61: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Features, February 2020
                                                                                                    • Younger shoppers are more open to store brand chocolate
                                                                                                      • Figure 62: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Features, by age, February 2020
                                                                                                    • Only a quarter of parents look for chocolate aimed at kids
                                                                                                      • Figure 63: Types of chocolate confectionery purchased - Features, by parental status, February 2020
                                                                                                  • Chocolate Confectionery Purchase Location

                                                                                                      • Drug stores play an amplified role in chocolate confectionery purchase
                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, February 2020
                                                                                                      • Youngest adults prefer mass channels; 25-44s should be nurtured online
                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, by age, February 2020
                                                                                                      • Convenience store own brands have a strong chance at resonance
                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, by type – store brands, February 2020
                                                                                                      • Parents get chocolate wherever they can
                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, by parental status, February 2020
                                                                                                      • A quarter of buyers of chocolate aimed at kids purchase chocolate online
                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Chocolate confectionery purchase location, by type – aimed at kids, February 2020
                                                                                                    • Chocolate Confectionery Purchase Factors

                                                                                                        • Brand plays a strong role in chocolate purchase; little guys aren’t totally edged out
                                                                                                          • Second-tier drivers (flavor variety and health) have led increase in consumption
                                                                                                            • Interest in third-tier specialty offerings grows, presents opportunity for differentiation
                                                                                                              • Figure 69: Chocolate confectionery purchase factors, February 2020
                                                                                                            • Specialty offerings find a larger audience among younger shoppers, pointing to future of category
                                                                                                              • Figure 70: Chocolate confectionery purchase factors, by age, February 2020
                                                                                                            • Dark chocolate buyers seek specialized claims, milk could take a cue
                                                                                                              • Figure 71: Chocolate confectionery purchase factors, by style, February 2020
                                                                                                          • Perception of Snack Types

                                                                                                            • Chocolate confectionery wins among sweet treats, but could use a boost
                                                                                                              • Highlight pleasure and enjoyment
                                                                                                                • Working toward wellness, but not winning
                                                                                                                  • Figure 72: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Sweet snack comparison, February 2020
                                                                                                                  • Figure 73: Sweet snack comparison, February 2020
                                                                                                              • Perception of Confectionery Types

                                                                                                                • Chocolate is under-delivering on fun
                                                                                                                  • Nuts and fruit can help with health appeal
                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Candy comparison, February 2020
                                                                                                                    • Figure 75: Candy comparison, February 2020
                                                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                                                    • Sales data
                                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                        • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 76: Total US retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar >3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 77: Total US retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar >3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 78: Total US retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar <3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 79: Total US retail sales and forecast of box/bag/bar <3.5 oz chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 80: Total US retail sales and forecast of seasonal chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 81: Total US retail sales and forecast of seasonal chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 82: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack size chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 83: Total US retail sales and forecast of snack size chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 84: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate gift boxes, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 85: Total US retail sales and forecast of chocolate gift boxes, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 86: Total US retail sales and forecast of sugar free chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 87: Total US retail sales and forecast of sugar free chocolate confectionery, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Retail Channels

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 88: US supermarket sales of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 89: US drug store sales of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 90: US convenience store sales of chocolate confectionery, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 91: US sales of chocolate confectionery through other retail channels, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 92: Multi-outlet sales of chocolate confectionery, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020

                                                                                                                              About the report

                                                                                                                              This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                              • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                              • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                              • The Market

                                                                                                                                Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                              • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                              • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                              • The Trends

                                                                                                                                What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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