India gum
Center Fruit is one of Perfetti’s flagship brands in the gums category in India. It was launched in 2005 as India’s first ever liquid-filled, fruit-flavored gum.

India’s confectionery market is ballooning.

Experts at the Canadean Intelligence Center expect the market to grow by 71 percent in the next four years. In 2013, India’s confectionery market was worth close to $1.3 billion, and it’s expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2018.

India has seen higher disposable incomes in recent years thanks to economic growth and development, particularly in the middle class. This class accounts for 45 percent of the total confectionery consumption in India, more than half of which is gum.

“In India, gum is seen as a luxury item, with branded products predominantly available in urban areas,” says Safwan Kotwal, analyst at Canadean. “This is especially true for gum that provides fresh and minty breath, as it portrays a professional and well-groomed image that is becoming more vital to success in the Indian workplace."

But geography also factors into India’s growing fascination with gum.

The hot climate and soaring temperatures mean people prefer gum and jellies to chocolates, especially in the summer, and it shows in the way the market is expected to grow.

According to Canadean’s data, sugar confectionery and gum will outsell chocolate in volume. Gum is expected to increase by 64 percent in volume consumption by 2018, compared to 41 percent growth in chocolate.

In terms of value, however, chocolate is still on top.

“Weather plays a vital role for sugar confectionery and gum sales,” says Kotwal. “However, when translated into value terms, the chocolate market still dominates and is expected to surpass the $1 billion mark in 2018.”

That’s in part because chocolate continues to be a favorite among children.

While gum is popular with adults, kids still love sweets and toffees, keeping them high in demand. In 2013, kids nine years and younger were responsible for almost a quarter of sugar confectionery and chocolate consumption.

“Consumers in this age group, like in any other country, have a preference for sweet tasting products, which will be further enhanced as they develop their tastes and preferences for certain brands and products,” says Kotwal.

So despite the growing interest in gum, chocolate will remain a staple in India’s confectionery market.