U.S. sales in the candy category grew by 3 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. 

That’s according to data from Numerator’s new Sweet Treat Tracker, which monitors omnichannel sales trends across categories typically viewed as indulgences, including: 

  • Candy 
  • Bakery sweet goods
  • Baking chips and mixes
  • Frozen desserts
  • Ice cream
  • Packaged cookies 
  • Snack cakes

The Sweet Treat Tracker reports an index of year-over-year category sales for the past 13 months, monthly sales indices for top treat categories year-over-year, and treat sales by channel, covering purchases in online, food, mass, dollar, club, gas & convenience, and drug stores.

The tracker also showed that when looking at year-to-date sales for 2021 (1/1/21- 2/7/21), the candy category has seen further growth of 9 percent, compared to the same period in 2020.

In 2020, treat sales were elevated all year, particularly in the spring around stock-up and lockdown periods, which made the April Easter boost less noticeable.

Specifically, sales across tracked sweet treat categories grew by about 8 percent in 2020 (vs. 2019). And online sales of sweet treat categories doubled in 2020 (+104 percent) and are continuing to show strong growth in 2021 (+119 percent YTD).

The data also shows that online sales of treats doubled last year, and early 2021 sales are on track to grow even more.

The company said it was inspired to launch the new tracker after noticing some of the impacts of COVID-19.

"The pandemic has changed consumer behavior across the board, driving some consumers toward healthier foods and lifestyles, and others toward treats and indulgences,” the company says. “With the Numerator Sweet Treat Tracker, we wanted to understand how sales of specific treat categories grew during 2020 (and 2021 YTD), as well as the impact on retail channels.”

The Numerator Sweet Treat Tracker is updated bi-weekly with YTD omnichannel sales data. 

Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Headquartered in Chicago, Numerator has more than 2,000 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.