Home » Confectionery Sales Surge in 2022: A Sweet Opportunity for Small Retailers

Confectionery Sales Surge in 2022: A Sweet Opportunity for Small Retailers

macro shot of assorted candies

Confectionery sales experienced remarkable growth in 2022, providing a sweet opportunity for small and independent retailers. As reported by NCA, total confectionery sales in traditional retail channels exceeded $32 billion, marking an 11.1% increase compared to the previous record-breaking year.

Chocolate emerged as the top-selling category, generating $18 billion in sales, while non-chocolate candy and gum witnessed the fastest growth rates at 13.3% and 15.3%, respectively. However, the dollar performance does not tell the complete story.

While dollar sales soared, unit sales dipped by 2%. Inflation played a significant role in this contrast, affecting the overall performance of the confectionery category. Still, some consumers opted for shareable pack sizes, resulting in slightly better volume sales.

Within the chocolate sector, dollars rose by 9.1% to reach a record-setting $18.2 billion. Share bags accounted for $7.2 billion in sales, followed by bars less than 3.5 ounces at $5.4 billion. Seasonal chocolates for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Halloween generated $3.7 billion in sales. Everyday chocolate products outperformed seasonal items, with only gift boxes and novelties falling short of their 2021 sales levels. Notably, sugar-free options and seasonal chocolates experienced significant growth.

Non-chocolate candy exhibited stronger performance, with gains in both dollars and units, although volume remained flat. Novelties, seasonal candy, and sugar-free options witnessed an increase in unit sales. All segments within the non-chocolate category saw a rise in dollar sales, with sugar-free candy, seasonal products, novelty items, and plain mints exhibiting above-average growth. Chewy candy, which constitutes a significant portion of non-chocolate sales, experienced a remarkable 12.9% growth in 2022.

The gum sector also demonstrated positive growth, gradually recovering its pre-pandemic performance. Dollar sales increased by 15.3%, while units grew by 1.4%. Sugar-free gum accounted for the majority of unit gains.

These findings present excellent opportunities for small and independent retailers. By offering a diverse selection of chocolates, candies, gum, and mints, retailers can cater to the growing demand for these confectionery products. Retailers can attract customers by curating seasonal displays, promoting shareable pack sizes, and highlighting popular sugar-free options. Additionally, strategic partnerships with local confectionery brands and creative marketing initiatives can further enhance the appeal for customers.

To sum up, the surge in confectionery sales presents a sweet opportunity for small and independent retailers. By staying attuned to consumer preferences, stocking a variety of products, and leveraging seasonal trends, these retailers can satisfy customers’ cravings and enjoy a slice of the confectionery success.


Confectionery sales witnessed substantial growth in 2022, with total sales exceeding $32 billion. While chocolate remained the top-selling category, non-chocolate candies and gums experienced significant growth rates. However, despite the dollar performance, unit sales slightly declined due to inflation and shifting consumer preferences towards shareable pack sizes. Small and independent retailers can benefit from this confectionery boom by offering a diverse range of products, emphasizing seasonal displays, promoting shareable options, and highlighting popular sugar-free alternatives. By staying attuned to consumer preferences and leveraging strategic partnerships, these retailers can tap into the sweet success of the confectionery market.

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