Halloween Candy Sales Surpass Pre-Pandemic Norms

Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a Candy Tracker to monitor omnichannel sales trends, promotional activity, and advertising for both seasonal and non-seasonal candy. Overall, the candy category is up vs. both 2020 and 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Leading snacking provider The Hershey Company has experienced comparable lifts among its brand portfolio.

“After a full year of celebrating seasons through the pandemic, people have expanded their ways of celebrating, adding more at-home activities while resuming cherished community and social traditions. For Halloween we have seen a continued increase in many early and mid-season activities like decorating, baking and movie nights and our insights signal more will reengage this year in away-from-home events like parades, parties and trick-or-treating,” said Phil Stanley, Global Chief Sales Officer for The Hershey Company.

Seasonal Candy: The pre-Halloween candy buying period is capturing more consumers than ever this year:

  • Sales of seasonal candy are up 29% to-date in the second half of 2021 vs. year-ago, and up 43% vs. two years ago.
  • Growth is primarily driven by an increase in household penetration in the category (+4.5 points vs. 2020, +5.9 points vs. 2019), though household buying rates are also elevated compared to previous years.
  • Overall trips made for seasonal candy are up as well (+19% vs. year-ago, +30% vs. two years ago).

Non-Seasonal Candy: Everyday candy continues to be a regular purchase for the majority of consumers:

  • Sales of non-seasonal candy (which make up the bulk of overall candy sales through the year) are up 19% vs. 2020 and up 24% vs. 2019.
  • Growth is driven by higher buy rates per household (+$7.54 vs. 2020, +$9.59 vs. 2019), and a small increase in overall household penetration.
  • In 2020, non-seasonal candy saw a pronounced boost the week of Halloween, as consumers supplemented traditional Halloween candy purchase with their everyday favorites.
  • Trips for non-seasonal candy are also up (+12% vs. year-ago, +13% vs. two years ago)

Candy Promotions & Advertising:

  • Total promoted products within the Seasonal Candy category are up 47% July through September vs. 2020, and up 36% vs. 2019. Increases were most significant early in the season, with promoted products up more than 200% in July vs. year-ago.
  • Promotions for Non-seasonal/Everyday Candy are also elevated to a lesser degree (+33% vs. 2020, +21% vs. 2019).
  • Consumers are buying more candy despite decreased advertising. Candy related ad spend is down significantly (-29% vs. 2020, -34% vs. 2019), and candy related ad occurrences are down slightly (-5% vs. 2020, -8% vs. 2019).