Confectionery faces a downturn in sales this Easter

A Field Agent survey suggests most parents will either spend less or not at all during one of the category's most important seasons.

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Consumer behaviour relating to food purchases have changed wildly in recent weeks due to COVID-19. And a new report suggests the confectionery business might see similar disruption this Easter season, as the typical surge in chocolate and candy purchases has become a lower priority for Canadians.

Shopper and CPG research firm Field Agent surveyed 529 Canadian parents last weekend and found 56% of respondents will spend less than they did last year, and 22% would not be spending anything at all on Easter products in 2020 as COVID-19 concerns continue to weigh on the minds of Canadian consumers.

This does not bode well for the holiday-driven confectionery business, as Halloween and Easter vie for the biggest sales period of the year, followed by Christmas and Valentine’s Day, according to Nielsen.

According to a statement on the Hershey’s website, Halloween, Easter and the winter holiday season drive roughly one-quarter of the company’s business. Like other holidays, Easter frequently brings numerous LTOs to capture more sales: Ferrero Rocher has found success with its Easter chocolate squirrels, and Cadbury with its popular, yet seasonal, crème eggs.

Field Agent’s other insights include only 11% of respondents planning to spend more, and that of the shoppers who were planning on making Easter purchases, 45% haven’t started yet.

Walmart is the number one Easter destination by a wide margin, with nearly half of survey respondents citing the retailer as a planned shopping location. This was followed by Dollarama, the supermarket banners, Costco and pharmacies. Online retailers brought up the rear, due to fulfillment delays brought on by a surge in demand for online food delivery.