National Confectioners Association study reveals key pandemic consumer buying trends

The US-based National Confectioners Association has set out the second of its three-part insights-driven report series exploring the impact of coronavirus on consumer behaviour and seasonal and everyday confectionery sales, reports Neill Barston

As the organisation revealed, its latest study focuses on new buying behaviours that have emerged as a result of the ongoing pandemic, which is continuing to cause a significant problem around the world.

Significantly, the report noted that confectionery sales gains during the pandemic have been mixed, and showed that between March 15 and September 6,  chocolate sales gained 5.5 percent. Non-chocolate sales are strengthening as convenience store traffic is rebounding, for an overall pandemic gain of 1.6 percent. However, gum and mint sales have been challenged as the pandemic uprooted many work, school and social routines have been affected.

Furthermore, the grocery channel has been the main beneficiary of the pandemic channel shifting and its confectionery gains are far above average. Convenience store confectionery sales have been rising since July and August.

Notably, the vast majority of people have consumed chocolate (92 percent) and non-chocolate (80 percent) during the pandemic, though around 10 percent of people reportedly reduced their candy consumption.

“With this report, we’re delivering the information that’s essential to today’s ever-shifting retail environment during the COVID-19 pandemic,” NCA President & CEO John Downs said.

“The data provided in this report is tailored specifically to confectionery manufacturers and retailers looking to develop best practices for this new retail landscape and get a grasp of some of the larger behavioural shifts resulting from the pandemic.”

The report pulls from shopper survey data and recent sales data to dive deeper into the rationale behind notable changes in shopper behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the centralisation of shopper spending in the grocery channel, the increase in chocolate and candy sales during the pandemic and the rapid rise of e-commerce.

The full report is available to NCA member companies, Sweets & Snacks On Demand participants and select retail partners at An executive summary of the report is also available here.

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