Washington — Category dollar sales for this past winter holiday season grew 1.4 percent, totaling $3.96 billion, while overall unit sales remained flat, according to the NCA’s Sweet Insights program.
However, Larry Wilson, NCA vice-president of customer relations, notes that when excluding gum, which doesn’t have much seasonality, from the sales picture, overall category dollar sales grew 2.4 percent and units increased 1.2 percent.
“The increase in units is extremely encouraging and signals that volume sales are continuing a comeback,” Wilson says. Units were driven by the chocolate segment, which saw gains of two percent, while non-chocolate volume was relatively flat for the period.
Diving deeper, chocolate sales, which account for more than 60 percent of seasonal purchases, grew 3.2 percent during the period, while non-chocolate comprised 27 percent of overall sales and grew 0.6 percent. Gum was again challenged, as sales slipped 5.6 percent during the holiday season.