Long Pinxin, market research branch of the Chinese confectionery trade body, compiled the February sales data from over 1,000 retailers in Beijing Metropolitan area, including international grocery chains and regional wholesalers.
The data is categorized into several segments, including indulgent candy, functional confectionery, chocolate and gum.
China Candy said in its report that improved marketing efforts and packaging helped confectionery maintain popularity among Beijing consumers even after the Lunar New Year and the Lantern Festival—two major seasons fueling Chinese confectionery sales.
Customized gift box promotes candy sales
According to Long Pinxin’s data, Nestlé-owned Hsu Fu Chi made up 15.9% of the Beijing hard candy market, making it the dominant brand during the period, followed by Sister Ma, which mainly manufactures fruit-flavored chewy candies and alcohol-added chocolate, with 15.3% of the market.
Both companies have customized their packaging during the holidays, which market analysts believe is a major factor contributing to their continuous growth in March this year. Hsu Fu Chi for example launched a lantern-shaped candy gift box during the Lantern Festival.
Perfetti Van Melle ranked third in the candy sales and its Alpenliebe made up 12.3% of the market, followed up by long-time domestic company, Da Bai Tu (White Rabbit) with 10.9% of the market share.
The data also indicated that Chinese candy brands, Yake and Want Want, defeated Hershey-owned Golden Monkey, capturing 8.7% and 8.5% of the market respectively. Golden Monkey held a share of 5.4%.
ConfectioneryNews previously reported that Want Want and Hershey lost market shares during the 2015-to-2016 period due to macroeconomic challenges and changing shopper behavior.
Functional confectionery increasing price
The functional candy segment posted “positive” results after the Lunar New Year, as many of the manufacturers are expanding distribution channels and redesigning packaging, according to China Candy.
The category has also seen a price increase with more consumers starting to care more about oral health, China Candy added.
According to Long Pinxin’s data, Perfetti Van Melle-owned Mentos, along with domestic brands Wang Laoji and Pan Gaoshou, led the category in the Beijing area, posting market shares of 12.6%, 12.4% and 10.8% respectively.
Chocolate steps up sales during Valentine’s Day
China Candy said the Lantern Festival was only three days earlier than the Valentine’s Day this year, enabling chocolate companies to boost sales by targeting two holiday seasons at the same time.
Mars-made Dove had the largest market share (15.5%) in the chocolate category during the period, compared to Mondelēz’s Milka and Ferrero which made up 14.2% and 13.7% of the market respectively.
The Oreo maker tailored Milka’s flavor and introduced the brand to China for the first time last summer despite the chocolate category growth slowing in the country in recent years.
Meanwhile, M&M’s, Le Conte, Cadbury, Nestlé and Lotte made up 11.1%, 9.5%, 8.1%, 7.5% and 6.2% of the market, the data shows.
However, China’s state official media outlet, Xinhua, previously warned that Korean confectionery giant Lotte could lose business after allowing US missile defense system THAAD on a golf course it operates in South Korea.
So far, Lotte said 23 of its supermarket stores have been shut down in China.
Oral health awareness prompts gum sales
Long Pinxin found that 74.8% of middle-class consumers would purchase gum products to keep their breath fresh after the holiday seasons.
The data showed that Wrigley-owned chewing gum brand Double Mint, and Extra dominate the category with market shares of 16.2% and 14.1% respectively.
Mondelēz’s Stride ranked third in the category with a share of 12.8%. The brand recently added Minions mints in the Chinese market, this site previously reported.
Korean gum manufacturers including Orion Confectionery and Lotte, on the other hand, made up 11.7% and 6.1% of the market, according to the same data sheet.
The gum category has been performing well especially in the first tier cities like Beijing, and it anticipates continuous growth in 2017, China Candy said, partly due to the increasing awareness of oral health.