Snacks & Candy

What Will the Top Trick or Treat Performers Be This Year?

Chocolate is top Halloween candy, followed by gummies and candy corn
Halloween candy stats
Photograph: Shutterstock

With the Halloween season scarily close, what tricks can retailers use to offer customers the treats that they want?

In short, consumers are looking for chocolate and treats with a creepy or scary theme, according to the National Confectioners Association’s seasonal survey conducted in July 2023 by research firm 210 Analytics.

Halloween drives about $6 billion in confectionery retail sales each year, said NCA. In 2022, with an exact $6 billion in sales, Halloween sales saw 12.9% growth compared to 2021, according to Circana, for the eight weeks ending Oct. 30, 2022. The only holiday period that provoked more sales was the winter holidays, with $6.8 billion in sales.

The top Halloween treat is chocolate, followed by gummy candy and, finally, candy corn.

A time-honored tradition of the Halloween season is trading candy with family and friends. Opinions abound on the ultimate deal, but most Americans agree they’d trade away some of their gummy candy in exchange for a chocolate treat.

Overall, in 2022,chocolate came out on top with $18.2 billion in sales, up 9.1% vs. 2021 (for the 52 weeks ending Jan. 1, 2023). Nonchocolate sales were $10.3 billion, up 13.8% vs. 2021. Nonchocolate units continue to outperform chocolate units, though, with 0.2% growth vs. 2021 compared to chocolate’s 4.2% decrease in the same time period.

“The Halloween season is a cherished tradition that is enhanced by the central role that chocolate and candy play in making it fun, exciting and special for consumers all across the country,” said John Downs, NCA president and CEO. “The excitement around the Halloween season has increased in recent years, resulting in consumers starting their celebrations sooner than in years past – with seasonal chocolate and candy, decor, costumes and supplies hitting store shelves beginning earlier and earlier. Our member companies are collaborating in big ways with our retail partners and sharing in the enthusiasm by ensuring that the classic and innovative treats consumers know and love are available as this major cultural moment of Halloween gets underway.”

NCA’s Seasonal Survey was conducted in July 2023 by 210 Analytics LLC using a self-administered, online questionnaire. The sample of 1,500 individuals mirrors the U.S. population in terms of key demographics, including age, income, ethnicity and region, with an oversample of 500 parents.

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