The National Confectioners Association has released “Seasonal Confectionery Purchase Decisions: 2020,” the third report in its three-part series on COVID-19 confectionery shopping trends.

“Seasonal and holiday celebrations have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, reshaping shoppers’ engagement with seasonal confectionery,” NCA President & CEO John Downs said. “The insights unveiled in this report will help the confectionery industry address new holiday celebrations and traditions through merchandising and marketing that reflects these unusual times.”

The report combines shopper survey data and recent sales data to investigate shoppers’ new approaches to purchasing seasonal confectionery products during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to providing the latest shopper insights, the report highlights new confectionery purchasing patterns and usage occasions, including the rise of e-commerce for seasonal confectionery sales and seasonal confectionery’s heightened role as a source of holiday fun.

The full report is available to NCA member companies, Sweets & Snacks On Demand participants and select retail partners at An executive summary of the report is also available to the entire confectionery industry.

Key highlights include:

• Seasonal confectionery enjoys high engagement as 84 percent see it as a fun part of special celebrations and 78 percent say sharing and gifting seasonal confectionery is a great American tradition. This is exactly why seasonal permissibility is high, with 82 percent of Americans agreeing that it is okay to enjoy seasonal confectionery during holidays and special occasions.

• Supermarkets are the most commonly shopped channel for seasonal confectionery, followed by supercenters. But it is e-commerce that leaped years ahead in engagement, with online candy sales up 100.3 percent during the 26 weeks ending September 6, 2020. Online ordering with the local grocery store for delivery or pickup overtook online retailers as the biggest online channel for confectionery. The seasonal aisle is fun and inspiring to 77 percent of shoppers and 76 percent like browsing for new items when buying seasonal confectionery.

• Shoppers like to celebrate the seasons in style; 87 percent prefer seasonal confectionery featuring packaging, shapes, colors, flavors or characters that reflect the season.

• The pandemic has resulted in financial pressure for many Americans, and more are prioritizing promotions and price in their decisions. Seasonal confectionery already enjoyed very high promotional efficiencies prepandemic.  Purchases are influenced by shoppers’ own preferences (59 percent), price (43 percent) and sales promotions (40 percent).

• Parents see confectionery as integral to seasonal celebrations, and 90 percent discuss the importance of balance and treating with their children. Key educational years are when the kids are between seven and 12 years of age.

• At the same time, nine in 10 parents monitor their kids’ candy consumption, with limiting consumption to a few pieces a day until it runs out being the most popular system as it relates to the seasonal haul.