Hershey leads the US candy category when it comes to Halloween with 38.5% market share and the two highest selling brands, KitKat and Reese’s, according to the company. Hershey’s top five brands also represent 81% of seasonal candy sales.
“Our largest growth driver across seasons is innovation and it comes in many forms – new graphics, mixes, flavor or occasions,” Alex Corcoran, senior director of seasons at Hershey, said.
"Parties are the fastest growing occasion for Halloween candy consumption, driven by millennials and Hispanics."
Through its latest consumer research, Hershey said more people gravitate toward unique packaging this year. “Whether they’re using their candy for decoration, parties or trick-or-treat, fun packaging adds a ‘cool factor’,” said Corcoran.
“We also know how important assortments are to the Halloween candy shopper,” he added. “Assortments represent 34.8% of the total Halloween confection sales. Assortment packages over 30 ounces are the fastest-growing pack type in Halloween, and Hershey’s collection of chocolate assortments lead the category.”
Corcoran noted Hershey added some new assortments to the holiday season this year, including Hershey’s spooky shapes assortment, peanut lovers’ assortment and Cadbury Harvest Mix.
Additionally, parties are the fastest growing occasion for Halloween candy consumption, driven by millennials and Hispanics, Corcoran said. “More than 35% of consumers participate in party occasions, making up 19% of Halloween candy volume,” he said.
“We’ve kept these Halloween partiers in mind when it comes to our package type, assortment and packaging design innovation,” Corcoran added.
Creating seasonal destination
Corcoran said Hershey works with its retail partners to create an in-store “seasonal destination” for shoppers.
“It’s such an important time for both of us,” he said. “74% of incremental candy sales occur in seasonal windows… the top 25 sales weeks of the year are seasonal.”
Seasonal destination was created to “wow shoppers” with inflatable pumpkins, Halloween archway, and Halloween bins, Corcoran explained. “The displays scream Halloween and they help shoppers know exactly where to go in the store.”
“We also have a proprietary seasonal order-writing system, our ‘secret sauce’ to help our retailers perfect their inventory for Halloween,” he added. “More than 37% of Halloween purchases are made last week of the season and we help them make sure they have what they need for those shoppers.”
Corcoran mentioned Hershey does not feel pressured as many of its competitors are transitioning their seasonal products to everyday brands. “We’re lucky at Hershey to have power brands like, Hershey’s, Kit Kat and Reese’s that our fans want every day as well as during seasons,” he said.
Corcoran said the Halloween candy sales are expected to reach $2.7bn this year, and Hershey hopes to continue to outperform the category.