Costumed kids might think it’s a trick if they receive store-brand candy. While consumers are embracing private label brands in most categories, candy isn’t one of them. In fact, private label candy sales are expected to shrink in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
During the year, store brands make up an 8.1% share of candy sales, but in the weeks leading up to and including Halloween, the store brand average dips to 5.6%, per Nielsen.
On a unit basis, private label only made up 5.1 percent of candy sales for the year ended Sept. 5. In all other categories in food, drug, mass including Wal-Mart, private label made up 21.6 percent.
“It speaks to the marketing muscle and brand equity brands in this category have,” said Todd Hale, svp, consumer and shopper insights for Nielsen. “They have spent a lot of money on advertising and new product development. It shows in terms of loyalty and their overall share of market.”
Overall, candy and gum brands spent $458 million on advertising for the first 8 months of the year, per Nielsen. Last year, spending within the category hit $786 million.
Approximately 598 million pounds of candy is sold during the Halloween season, accounting for $1.9 billion in sales. Halloween is tops for chocolate sales. Consumers tend to wait until the last minute to make their purchases, so nearly 90 million pounds of chocolate are sold during the holiday week. The number is almost double that of Valentine’s week (48 million pounds of chocolate sold) and more than Easter week (60 million pounds).
This is why marketers like Hershey’s escalate their advertising and their offerings leading into Oct. 31. Hershey’s, last week, announced eight new assortment packages, including its Seasonal Shapes assortment containing 50 snack size packages, and Good & Plenty, Good & Fruity snack size assortment. One of Hershey’s top Halloween sellers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, is available in pumpkin shapes and Hershey’s Kisses can be purchased in three packs in lieu of handing out individual pieces.
“All holidays are important, but we strive to make people think of Hershey’s when they think of Halloween,” said Hershey’s rep Jody Cook. “Every year we come out with new packaging, designs or products to keep the excitement around what Hershey’s is offering.”
Of course, its competitors are trotting out their latest and greatest as well. Mars Snackfood US has begun offering candy already in costume. M&M’s, this month, debuted the Kiss Blend exclusively at Wal-Mart. The candies feature the painted faces of Kiss’ band members.