British appetite for confectionery 'alive' and 'growing' in December despite Brexit vote

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Seasonal sales peak higher than usual in December for UK confectionery, says Paymentsense ©iStock/utkamandarinka
Seasonal sales peak higher than usual in December for UK confectionery, says Paymentsense ©iStock/utkamandarinka

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Confectionery sales in the UK climbed higher from November to December in 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, data from bank card machine provider Paymentsense shows.

Sales for the category in the UK increased by nearly 55% in December compared to November 2016 versus a 53.3% rise in the same period in 2015. 

Paymentsense said it indicates the desire for candy, nuts and confectionery is “not just alive, but it’s growing with intent".

Paymentsense is one of the largest merchant service providers in Europe. It works with businesses from across multiple industries with vendors of baked goods and confectionery making up a significant portion of its over 50,000 customers.

Payment-Sense-Guy Moreve
Head of marketing at Paymentsense, Guy Moreve

In addition to bakery and confectionery retailers, Paymentsense December data also includes sales from dairy, meat, wine, liquor and other specialty foods stores.

Commenting on the general food category in the UK, Moreve said, “this growth in UK food spending was definitely reflected in the sales of our food retailers who saw a 12% uplift in the number of transaction from November to December 2016.”

“Equally, our year-over-year sales from food retailers saw a significant rise, with food retailers enjoying a 9.6% increase in sales for December 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.”

Guy Moreve, head of marketing at Paymentsense, said the company’s data was calculated by the amount of purchases taken though their payment systems on confectionery items.

Sweets become a staple in British lifestyle  

He said it seemed merchants were “as nervous as a cat in room full of rocking chairs”​ following Brexit and the fall of the pound, but the resilience of British consumers has prevailed and dismissed many of their fears.

“For 2017, I believe we can see more of that resilience,”​ he said.

“Even with the rising prices of goods made both at home (from inflation) and goods made abroad (from the falling pound), confectionery manufacturers and retailers can feel safe in the knowledge that sweets and treats seem to have become a staple in the British lifestyle and one of the few items we’re not willing to do without.”

Others cautious on Brexit fallout

Euromonitor International last year projected​ confectionery would be the worst hit UK food & drink segment after Brexit with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) decline from 2015 to 2020 as consumers cutback on discretionary items. 

The majority of ConfectioneryNews readers polled last year said they expected the UK’s exit from the European Union would harm sales volumes for their businesses and lead to increased food prices.

UK chocolate market leader Mondelēz International last week said it had upped prices​ on select confectionery products in the UK, while trade body the Food and Drink Federation said the UK consumer price for confections is likely rise.

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