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    Making the Most of Candy Everyday

    NCA and IRI outline five characteristics of candy that retailers should leverage.

    CHICAGO -- When it comes to product categories, confectionery is a sweet spot. Consider that 98 percent of households purchase candy, spending $95.64 annually. And the candy category is growing, with the market currently at $32.7 billion and $6 billion of growth anticipated over the next five years, according to data from IRI.

    Convenience stores are tied with food stores for the largest percentage of candy sales – 24 percent each, according to data from IRI. However, c-stores outpace all other retail outlets in combined dollar sales and growth, perhaps because like the outlets themselves, the convenience and value of candy are key positive attributes.

    These statistics were shared during a live presentation on Nov. 20 in Chicago that kicked off the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) Sweet Insights series. Larry Wilson, vice president of customer relations for NCA, teamed up with IRI’s Larry Levin, GTM Practice Leader, to present key insights around E5, the five characteristics of candy that retailers should leverage to grow everyday candy sales.

    The five characteristics are:

    • Experience: Shoppers are underwhelmed with what they see in candy aisles. On a scale of one to 10, they give the experience of shopping for candy a 4.8. NCA recommends attractive displays with vivid colors, and in-store sampling. As with any positive experience, retailers should engage as many of the senses as possible.
       
    • Emotion: Few categories can tap into nostalgia and positive emotion the way candy can. NCA research indicates that emotionally engaged consumers are three times more likely to recommend and purchase.
       
    • Effectiveness: Give consumers what they want, when they want. Understanding your customer base will help drive assortment, merchandising, marketing and advertising.
       
    • Efficiency: As it relates to operational excellence. All gum needs is visibility, for example. Non-chocolate needs to continually appeal to new customers. Chocolate should be promoted for new usage occasions.
       
    • Environment: Embrace trends. Understanding what motivates or even preoccupies the customer can aid in planning. Key trends identified by NCA include value-based shopping, convenience, health and wellness, and snacking.

    NCA’s Sweet Insights is a series of webinars intended to empower retailers and manufacturers to fully leverage the candy category. The first webinar, featuring E5 insights, will define the category’s strengths and offer insight into how retailers across all channels can leverage key characteristics for stronger confectionery programs. The webinar will air Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. EST.

    Visit www.candyusa.com for more information.

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