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No matter how popular better-for-you treats become with today’s consumers, candy remains a strong seller in the convenience marketplace. Men and women of every age, income level and geographic region indulge themselves — but as with any category, different demographic groups have differing preferences that retailers should consider.
While more than 65 percent of all surveyed consumers said they bought candy or gum from a c-store in the last month, women were more likely to make this purchase than men, at 74 percent compared to 62 percent, respectively. Also, the younger consumers are, the more likely they are to buy candy, with more than 80 percent of those aged 18–24 doing so in the past month. This percentage declines as customer age increases — yet even 46 percent of those aged 55 and older reported making a c-store candy purchase.
The average frequency of purchase seems to demonstrate that consumers agree with the candy industry’s stated belief that confections are fine as an occasional indulgence. Approximately half of all respondents said they bought candy or gum at a c-store one or two times in the past month.
Interestingly, while the percentage of consumers who made c-store candy purchases declined as the number of purchases increased, a larger amount made five to nine purchases (16.5 percent) than three or four purchases (14 percent and 13 percent, respectively.) Consumers with children are more likely to make multiple purchases in one month than those without kids.
Unsurprisingly, consumers who go to c-stores for an occasional sweet treat spend relatively little doing so in a one-month period, with 39 percent spending less than $5 and 27 percent spending $5 to $9. However, twice as many people reported spending $20 to $49 than $10 to $14.
Lower-income consumers who make less than $35,000 a year were most likely to watch their wallets and spend less. However, those who make $100,000 or more were the group second most likely to spend only $5 or less per month on candy. At the same time, more affluent consumers were also more willing to spend in the $20–$24 range.