State of the Industry


State of Confectionery

From hundreds of small, family-owned businesses to the companies behind some of the world’s most iconic brands, NCA members make honest, authentic, transparent, affordable, fun treats.


  • In 2014, the U.S. confectionery generated $34.5 billion at retail.
  • Generating an estimated $21.1 billion in U.S. retail sales, chocolate remains the largest sub-category in confectionery. Chocolate sales increased 2.9 percent in 2014.
  • With a sales increase of 2.1 percent in 2014, non-chocolate U.S. confectionery sales reached $10.4 billion.
  • Gum generated $3.1 billion in U.S. retail sales in 2014, with sugarless making up 84 percent of all gum sales.
  • Premium chocolate sales grew nearly 11 percent in 2014.
  • Dark chocolate sales increased 8 percent in 2014, but milk chocolate remains the largest chocolate segment in the U.S.
  • Top performers in non-chocolate candy in 2014 include:
    – Fruity candy
    – Sour candy
    – Gummies
    – Bites/Minis
    – Taffy
  • Seasonal candy (candy that has unique seasonal packaging, shapes, colors or flavors) accounts for more than $7.2 billion each year (about 21 percent of annual sales).


State of Confectionery Retailing

Whether purchased at a supermarket or a ballpark, a sprawling super center or the little shop around the corner, consumers delight in finding their favorite sweet treat and  choosing the right moment to enjoy it.



  • The largest channel for confectionery is grocery at 22 percent of total confectionery sales, followed by mass merchandise outlets (21%), convenience stores (16%), club stores (13%), drug stores (9%), confectionery stores (5%) and value/dollar stores (4%).
  • Confectionery is a seasonal powerhouse for U.S. retailers, growing nearly 8.5 percent during the Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Winter Holiday seasons in 2014 over 2013.
  • 30 percent of shoppers have purchased candy online (44 percent from an online candy store, 29 percent from a online retailer that also sells candy, 10 percent from a grocery store with an online presence and 16 percent from some other online outlet).


The data above is excerpted from NCA’s 2014 Annual Confectionery Industry review.

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