Candy during the holidays goes beyond traditional gifting for most Americans


One of the most iconic confectionery shapes is that of the candy cane. From a little treat to a decoration, the candy cane serves many purposes during the holiday season. For instance, 51 percent of shoppers will use candy canes to decorate trees or packages during the season. And they were voted as the second most popular candy to use as a stocking stuffer, following foil-wrapped chocolates in NCA’s most recent holiday survey.

Beyond candy canes, the holiday season offers many opportunities in terms of gifting, baking, decorating, crafting, sharing and more, as found by the NCA shopper survey. Retailers can extend the sales season by playing into all these different usage occasions.

Do you… All
Share or gift chocolate/candy during the Winter holidays 85%
Include candy in Christmas stockings or gifts 77%
Bake with candy or chocolate 62%
Have a candy bowl at work or at home 62%
Decorate the tree or packages with candy canes 51%
Decorate a gingerbread house or man 31%
Craft with Holiday candy or chocolate 20%
Play games with chocolate coins 9%

The good news is that these occasions offer sales opportunities for just about all confectionery segments, both seasonal and non-seasonal. Consider gift box chocolate and gourmet items to share or gift; small colorful candies to decorate a gingerbread house; or foil-wrapped chocolates, novelty items and candy canes for stocking stuffers. Last year, novelty items grew 16.4 percent in chocolate and 32.6 percent in non-chocolate as shoppers looked for fun, new items. Best-in-class retailers tied these various occasions into circular recipes, Pinterest craft ideas, Facebook postings and in-store baking displays for an overall seasonal period gain of +5.3 percent during the eight week period ending December 27, 2015, according to our data insights partner, IRI.