We often think about candy at Halloween, Easter, or maybe Valentine’s Day, but it is a year-round treat that we all enjoy. 10% of the candy sales might be at Halloween, but this is a billion dollar industry that can’t be ignored.
In 2013, US Halloween candy sales topped $217 million. That was up 12% in year-to-year comparisons.
Candy Sale Statistics
Although anyone can make and sell candy, the market itself is dominated by 5 primary brands: Hershey, Mars, RM Palmer. Russell Stover, and Nestle. These five companies account for 98% of the candy sales at Halloween. Hershey and Mars account for 87% on their own.
- The US market for chocolate grew by 4% in 2013, reaching $21 billion in total sales.
- Premium chocolate products have seen the fastest amount of growth, but still are just 17% of the overall chocolate market.
- Russell Stover had just 7% of the US Halloween candy market in 2013.
- Total candy industry sales that don’t include chocolate topped $6.4 billion in 2013.
- Although Halloween sales account for 10% of the market, Easter sales account for 28% of the market.
- The average US household spends $21.65 on candy.
- The top selling candy in the US might actually surprise you: it’s candy corn. More than 20 billion pounds of it is purchased every year.
- The average American will eat chocolate 107x in the next year.
Why are we all going crazy for candy? It’s affordable. It usually tastes pretty good. It makes for a nice gift, especially if the investment into a premium candy product has been made. Chocolate is what dominates this market and that’s not just in the United States. That’s in the world. Places like Germany and Switzerland dominate the US consumption of chocolate. It only costs a few cents to make, a few more cents to buy, and that’s a good bargain for someone who wants a quick pick-me-up on a bad day.
We Are Traditionalists When It Comes To Candy
- The average age of the Top 25 bestselling candies in the world today: 50.
- Hershey’s has 2 of the top 3 bestselling candies in the US: Hershey chocolate bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups. They combine to make $1 billion in total sales.
- If gum products are included in the top candies sold in the US, there would be 9 different types in the Top 25 of candy sales. Orbit gum would have 2 different flavors in the Top 25.
- 41% of people will eat at least one piece of candy today. Half of them will eat chocolate.
- Werther’s Original is the leading hard candy in the US, having more than $85 million in sales in 2013. Jolly Rancher’s also topped the $80 million mark. That’s double the sales of any other competitor.
When we find something we like, then we stick with it. This habit of routine is found in every industry today. We’re less likely to risk trying something new than sticking with a brand or product that we really like. That’s why some of the top selling candies in the market have been around for decades. It’s good. We know it’s good. That’s why we buy it.
Who Is Buying Candy Today?
- Adults in the 45-64 age demographic are eating more candy today than any other age demographic.
- People in the 35-44 age demographic eat the least amount of candy for adults, averaging 94 days of candy eating per year.
- Only children 2-5 eat less candy with just 84 days of candy eating per year.
- Children eat 13% less chocolate than adults.
- 76% of the time candy is consumed, it is because people are trying to relax in some way.
- 24% of households in the 45+ demographic will hand out candy at Halloween. 9% of Millennials will buy it too, but hoard it for themselves.
- 38% of people will purchase Halloween candy weeks in advance, wind up eating it, and then need to purchase more to hand out.
Eating candy isn’t a bad thing, but it can be if it is done in excess. The second most common reason why people decide to purchase candy is because “they don’t have anything better to do.” The only thing that tops it is “watching TV.” Ultimately we are defining ourselves based on our candy eating habits. We celebrate with candy. We relax with candy. We use candy as a coping skill. What does this mean? As life becomes more stressful, we’re more likely to buy more candy to get through the day. That means stress is the taste of sweet success for this industry.