Candy Sales Up as Pandemic Threatens Trick-or-Treating

Sales of Halloween chocolate, in particular, were up double-digits.

Halloween falls on a Saturday for the first time since 2015, which would normally give us all the more reason to celebrate All Hallows' Eve — but the pandemic has put a large damper on that.

However, despite the fact that COVID-19 is sure to limit the size and scope of the holiday’s festivities, candy sales are doing better than a year ago.

The National Confectioners Association shared data collected by market research company Information Resources Inc., which found total U.S. Halloween chocolate and candy sales were up 8.6% year-over-year through October 4. Sales of Halloween chocolate, specifically, were up 12.2%.

Earlier in October, Hershey said that retail sales through the end of September were up 19% year-over-year, and sales were up 15% at Ferrero.

And it’s not only Halloween that’s providing a bump to candy sales. IRI’s data showed that since March 15 — which is when stay-at-home and lockdown mandates went widespread across the country — total candy sales are up 4.3%, with chocolate up 5.7% and all other candy up 2%.

The Halloween candy consumption increase comes as millions of parents across the country have plenty of safety concerns regarding whether they should let their children participate in trick-or-treating, given that it can involve groups of young kids grabbing candy in close quarters to one another.

Even so, the NCA’s new Seasonal Survey found that 65% of parents plan to let their kids take part in trick-or-treating, while an August Party City survey found that 96% of parents planned to celebrate Halloween in some form.

According to the NCA, the Halloween season accounts for about $4.6 billion in confectionary sales each year, while a recent Harris Poll found that 74% of millennial moms and young parents say that this year’s Halloween is more important than ever.

That same Harris poll found that 80% of the general public — and 90% of millennial moms and young parents — say they can’t imagine Halloween without chocolate and candy, and that trick-or-treating is irreplaceable.

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