Rockville, MD — Product premiumization has been a key driver for U.S. chocolate sales, which have grown more than 2 percent, compounded annually, between 2013 and 2018, according to Packaged Facts. The market research company anticipates sector sales to reach $23 billion this year.
“The chocolate market is indisputably dynamic with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players, and a steady flow of new products that engage diverse groups of consumers,” says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “There remains consumer devotion to confectionery products and the role of chocolate candy in particular as an accessible luxury, creating many opportunities to trade consumers up to premium products.”
Ecommerce has helped spur interest in premium chocolates, as consumers discover an ever expanding array of products online, Packaged Facts reports.
“Online shopping is truly the new playground for premiumization,” Sprinkle adds. “Shifts in shopping behavior such as self-checkout and online purchasing have potentially dampened the types of in-store impulse purchases that traditionally drive a high level of chocolate sales. However, this is offset to an extent by ecommerce increasing the availability and purchasing of specialty products including local, nostalgic, and premium gift chocolates.”
Further, Mintel Group Ltd. reports 76 percent of U.S. chocolate buyers say it’s worth it to pay more for premium chocolate.
In addition to premium products, seasonal sales have a significant impact on the U.S. chocolate market, with holiday periods accounting for about a quarter of overall sales, according to Packaged Facts. Easter is the largest season for chocolate sales, followed by Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Halloween.