CHICAGO -- Whether for gifts, parties, or decorating, candy and snacks are as much a part of Christmas as Santa Claus, according to The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Overall, candy ranks No. 1 as the top snack item purchased for the holidays, NPD's snacking research found.
Candy is purchased by 50% of holiday celebrants and chips follow as the second most popular snack purchased during the Christmas period, according to Chicago-based NPD's SnackTrack Holidays Christmas Profile, which looks at consumers' activities, purchase behavior and attitudes surrounding Christmas. Chips, which are purchased by 38% of adults, are followed by fresh fruit, purchased by 36% of adults, and then crackers and nuts, each purchased by 31% of adults.
Candy is the lead category bought as a gift with 22% of adults purchasing it to give as a gift. Specially colored packaging generates the greatest enthusiasm among holiday candy purchasers versus other seasonal candy characteristics. Fresh fruit is purchased by 29% of adults and tops the list of snacks used for self or family consumption. Chips and crackers are the top snacks purchased for holiday entertaining, and nuts are primarily purchased as a gift or to eat by the purchaser or the purchaser's family.
Grocery stores and supercenters are the most popular shopping destination for candy and snacks, though consumers also planned to shop for these items at other stores. With the exception of convenience stores, fewer consumers bought from each type of store than they had planned. Hardest hit relative to the stores that consumers' planned on shopping at but didn't are supercenters, dollar stores, club stores, department stores and online stores.
"Candy and snacks are an intrinsic part of holiday traditions and provide unique opportunities for manufacturers and retailers," said Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst. "Keeping those who purchase candy and snacks for holiday festivities in mind, retailers and manufacturers can increase sales with merchandising and seasonal packaging, and by making these items convenient to purchase."