Candy Crush: Confectionery Producing Record Sales  

person holding a candy pack on white plastic box

Candy companies rang up record sales in 2023, according to a report published Monday by the National Confectioners Association.

Sales of chocolate and candy reached an all-time high of $48 billion last year. And while that number was largely driven by inflation, consumers are clearly embracing chocolate and candy to enhance special occasions.

The 2024 State of Treating report also projects that U.S. confectionery sales will reach $61 billion by 2028.

“Consumers seek out chocolate and candy to help enhance holiday seasons, family celebrations, and those important ‘treat yourself’ moments,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, in a statement.

Confectionery benefits from high permissibility as consumers understand the role of treating in a happy lifestyle. About 86% of people said they believe that it’s perfectly fine to enjoy the occasional treat.

Euromonitor findings show that chocolate sales totaled $25.9 billion last year, while non-chocolate candy sales added up to $19.2 billion.

The National Confectioners Association report unearthed a few other eye-opening candy findings, too:

  • 90% of people mentioned chocolate when asked what they buy to treat themselves
  • About 90% can be persuaded to spend a little more on chocolate or candy than planned
  • 82% are interested in information regarding a brand’s commitments to the planet
  • Price currently dominates the confectionery purchase decision across all generations
  • 41% of consumers made changes to their confectionery purchases last year
  • Only about 10% of shoppers purchase better-for-you confections with attributes like organic or sugar-free

Based on its findings, the National Confectioners Association suggests brands and retailers attempt to communicate a clear value proposition that leverages candy’s permissibility and favorability.

“Our new research shows that, even when faced with unpredictable environmental shifts and changes, consumers feel a strong connection to chocolate and candy,” Downs said. “And, they embrace classic favorites and innovative novelties with an emotional drive that keeps the category fresh and vibrant.”