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Pandemic reshapes shopping for seasonal candy

Seasonal Confectionery Purchase Decisions Report: National Confectionery Association

The current global pandemic uprooted consumers' shopping habits and patterns, but amid all the changes, confectionery's role remained the same: consumers see confectionery treating as integral to a happy, balanced lifestyle during regular, holiday and COVID-19 times.

According to Seasonal Confectionery Purchase Decisions: 2020, published the the U.S.-based National Confectioners Association (NCA), 84% of consumers see seasonal confectionery as a fun part of special celebrations and 78% say sharing and gifting seasonal confectionery is a great tradition. Additionally, 82% of consumers agree that it is okay to enjoy seasonal confectionery during holidays and special occasions.

"Seasonal and holiday celebrations have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, reshaping shoppers' engagement with seasonal confectionery," NCA President and CEO John Downs told CSNC's U.S. sister publication, Convenience Store News. "The insights unveiled in this report will help the confectionery industry address new holiday celebrations and traditions through merchandising and marketing that reflects these unusual times."

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Supermarkets are the most commonly shopped channel for seasonal confectionery, followed by supercentres. However, amid the pandemic, e-commerce leaped years ahead in engagement, with online candy sales up 100.3% during the 26 weeks ending Sept. 6. Online ordering with the local grocery store for delivery or pickup overtook online retailers as the biggest online channel for confectionery.

  • Shoppers say the seasonal aisle is fun and inspiring (77%) and they like browsing for new items when buying seasonal confectionery (76%).

  • Shoppers like to celebrate the seasons in style: 87% prefer seasonal confectionery featuring packaging, shapes, colours, flavours or characters that reflect the season.

  • The pandemic has resulted in financial pressure for many and more are prioritizing promotions and price in their decisions. Seasonal confectionery already enjoyed very high promotional efficiencies pre-pandemic.

  • Purchases are influenced by shoppers' own preferences (59 %), price (43%) and sales promotions (40%).

  • Parents see confectionery as integral to seasonal celebrations and 90%  discuss the importance of balance and treating with their children. At the same time, nine in 10 parents monitor their kids' candy consumption, with limiting consumption to a few pieces a day until it runs out being the most popular system as it relates to the seasonal haul.

An executive summary of the report is available here.

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