WASHINGTONEaster is the second top-selling confectionery holiday behind only Halloween. U.S. retail sales of Easter-themed candy and chocolate is estimated to reach $2.26 billion this yearup 4% over 2013 due to three extra weeks of merchandising, according to results of a National Confectioners Association (NCA) annual survey.
The survey found that 87% of parents plan to buy or create Easter baskets for their children, with brand names influencing 71% of Americans’ candy purchases. Of those surveyed, 72% said they are influenced by the classics or popular choices when buying seasonal candy, which sets the bar high for confectionery companies to develop new Easter-themed product launches to compete with fan favorites. According to market data from Mintel, 2012 Easter-themed product launches hopped to the front of the pack with an impressive 45% gain over 2011.
During prime Easter marketing season, we see the traditional return of consumer favorites like the Cadbury bunny, Reese’s eggs, solid and hollow chocolate rabbits, jelly beans and those ever-present marshmallow Peeps. So what’s America’s favorite Easter treat? It’s the jelly bean. In fact, 16 billion of jelly beans are made for Easter each year in the United States, with cherry being the most popular jelly bean flavor, followed by strawberry is another top favorite, licorice, lemon and grape.
Overall, the candy and confectionery industry is sweet. NCA’s recently released 2013 Annual Confectionery Performance Review determined that despite several weather challenges, shorter seasons and the continued quest for value among shoppers, 2013 was a comeback year for the confectionery industry.
“In 2013, business was big, growing and profitable," said Larry Wilson, NCA’s vice president of customer relations. “The total confectionery market reached $33.6 billion in 2013marking the sixth consecutive year of sales growth. Chocolate is the biggest segment and grew the fastest at 3.6% versus 2012. Additionally, the outlook for 2014 and beyond is very positive, with accelerated growth for the chocolate and gum segments."
Brand and mood lead the confections purchase decision tree, making variety (including new item introductions) and regionality very important to growing sales. In 2013, retailers added some seven new items across channels that generated $890 million in new item sales.