Press Release

UK Confectionery and Older Consumers: The Forgotten 1 Billion pounds Market


February 8th, 2012

Global Information Inc. would like to present a new market research report, "Consumer Trends in the Confectionery Market in the UK, 2011" by Canadean.

The sheer number of older consumers, almost 18 million over 55s in the UK, means they account for 24.3% of the value of the confectionery market, despite lower consumption frequencies than traditional consumer groups - kids and teenagers. Older consumers share is far above the combined consumption of Kids & Babies (those aged 0 - 9 years old) and Tweens & Early Teens (those aged 10 - 15 years old). Change in the UK Confectionery market is driven by demographics: the value of each consumer groups consumption increases with age (reference see figure below).

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The forgotten billion

UK Confectionery manufacturers with products and strategies focusing on children are potentially neglecting a forgotten target market worth over £1 billion in 2011: older consumers aged 55 and over.

Kids love of all things sweet isnt new, but it may have led manufacturers to undertarget 14 million older consumers, people in their fifties and sixties with an appetite for the occasional indulgence.

An addressable target market worth more than kids and teenagers combined

Canadeans study of consumers consumption habits reveals that older consumers account for 24.3% of the £4.3 billion UK confectionery market, a share greater than kids and teenagers combined. And if you think its all boiled sweets youre wrong - older consumers are responsible for 22.4% of the chocolate market, again the largest consumer group by a comfortable margin. And this is despite the fact that over a fifth of older consumers dont consume chocolate, and half dont consume sugar confectionery.

This part of the market is driven by the sheer number of older consumers giving themselves an occasional treat

While older consumers typically consume confectionery less frequently than younger consumers - only 17.8% of them are heavy users, compared with 37.1% for teenagers - their greater numbers combined with their consumption being more frequent than many might assume is distorting the market in their direction.

Overall confectionery sales have remained relatively unaffected by the recession as consumers give themselves an occasional treat, a "little but often" indulgence. Older consumers in particular tend to have a "less of the best" approach when doing this: they prize quality and still have the disposable income to pay for it, leading them to opt for premium brands. Their love of good quality, their ability to pay for it and the sheer number of older consumers means this underserved £1 billion market offers a potentially lucrative alternative to the competitive, crowded space of childrens confectionery.

"Healthy" confectionery

The UK population has a sweet tooth and they arent going to stop eating confectionery any time soon. But just because confectionery is an occasional indulgence doesnt mean it cant, with care, help consumers achieve their health aims with specially crafted dietetic products. There is also clear room for innovation in the market: older consumers dealing with health issues such as diabetes may be deterred by confectionerys sugar content, paving the way for manufacturers to take sugar-free products out of their niche market and target a wider audience.

Other unique insights into the UK Confectionery market offered by this report

In addition to profiling consumer groups and their impact on the £4.3 billion UK confectionery market, Canadeans proprietary study of consumers confectionery consumption habits provides unique insight into:

  • Trends: Indulgence, unsurprisingly, played a pivotal role in consumers product choices: it was cited by over half of consumers as influencing their choice of chocolate. In addition, a brands ability to communicate the creation of personal space and time where consumers are able to relax and unwind, and the conveyance of fun and enjoyment, were key factors behind consumer choices.
  • Private label share: brands reign supreme in the UK confectionery market, with private labels greatest success being sugar confectionery, where these products account for a tenth of the market. Overall private labels held single-digit shares in the chocolate and gum markets.
  • Retailer share and switching: Tesco is the UKs largest sweetshop, its dominance of the grocery market allowing it to account for over 30p in every pound spent on confectionery in the UK. Canadeans tracking of consumers choice of retailer over 2011 show that Tesco has also attracted the most new end-consumers, followed by Morrisons.

The confectionery consumer

The consumer of confectionery is slightly more likely to be female (women account for 53.8% of the confectionery market whilst making up 51% of the UK population), have plenty of leisure time on their hands and have an above average income. Thats not to say theyre the only consumers: chocolate in particular is a truly universal market as very few consumers never eat packaged chocolate. Sugar confectionery was the next most popular category, consumed by almost two-thirds of the UK population, while gum was only consumed by a third.


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