More

    Confectionery to rule Christmas as shoppers snub expensive gifts

    Image from Nestle/press releases

    Quality Street maker Nestle and Cadbury owner Mondelez are seeing higher sales of confectionery in Britain this holiday season driven by cash-strapped shoppers seeking cheaper gifts.

    Shoppers hit by inflation and higher mortgage rates are buying cheaper gifts this year, according to analysts and consumer companies. Some are snubbing toys and gadgets in favor of chocolate which, despite price rises over the past year, remains relatively inexpensive, executives say.

    “Boxed chocolates have had a particularly strong start, with a year-on-year increase of 8.7 per cent in value sales,” according to Fran McCargo, customer category manager lead for Nestle UK & Ireland, referring to the August-November period versus last year’s.

    “Twistwrap chocolates have seen (sales) growth of 2.1 per cent, too,” she said, adding that Nestle was seeing more shoppers buy chocolates as holiday gifts.

    Shoppers typically spend under £10 on such items, she said. Tins of Nestle’s Quality Street, trading at £5 each, and Mondelez’s Cadbury selection boxes, trading at £1.50, are proving popular.  

    In contrast, the average selling price of a toy in Europe is about £13, according to data firm Circana, formerly known as NPD. Several toy makers told Reuters earlier this month that demand was lower this year. 

    “The deals with chocolates have been quite reasonable, it’s not gone any higher (in price) – gifts and toys and other stuff, yes, but chocolates no,” said Bonnie Johnson, a 42-year-old care home worker.

    “It’s a cheaper gift to be able to give to quite a lot of people,” Johnson added.

    Retailers like Sainsbury’s and Tesco are offering discounts on Quality Street and Celebrations to customers with loyalty cards. Other Nestle brands that typically sell well during the holiday season include KitKat Santa, which costs just over £1 and Milkybar Festive Friends, which costs £1.25.

    Margin boost

    Manufacturers are also launching more “premium” chocolate products that they can sell at higher prices to help mitigate the impact of cocoa prices hitting 46-year highs this year.

    “It will help fourth-quarter earnings, as the Christmas period is the strongest for chocolate companies,” said Vontobel analyst Jean-Philippe Bertschy.

    Nestle has said its underlying trading operating profit margin will be 17-17.5 per cent this year, compared with 17.1 per cent in 2022.

    Less expensive indulgences are particularly popular among younger adults, said Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelēz.

    Nine out of 10 British Gen Z shoppers and 83 per cent of Millennial shoppers will “trade down” to cheaper products this holiday season, according to a survey by consultancy McKinsey. Overall, 74 per cent of respondents said they would buy cheaper gifts.

    Giving high-end chocolate tins has become part of festive cheer in Britain, with the local market for chocolate gifts worth about 1.8 billion pounds, according to data firm Circana. That has grown seven per cent in the past year, driven by higher prices.

    The British market for toys, worth about two billion pounds, has declined nearly four per cent this year, Circana data showed.

    After Christmas, chocolate makers are expected to face tougher trading conditions next year as they attempt to pass on soaring cocoa costs. However, executives say that chocolate remains more resilient than other discretionary purchases.

    “Through challenging times, consumers often review their discretionary spending. However, they are less likely to reduce their spending on confectionery gifting,” Nash said.

    Latest

    Biona condiments range heats up with two new mustards

    Organic food supplier Biona is introducing two new high-quality...

    Florette partners Jet2 Holidays and Megan McKenna in fresh promo

    Salad brand Florette is aiming for the skies this...

    Carbonated drinks brand, TRIP, launches functional mushroom and adaptogen range

    Soft drinks brand TRP has launched a new range,...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses...

    Don't miss

    Biona condiments range heats up with two new mustards

    Organic food supplier Biona is introducing two new high-quality...

    Florette partners Jet2 Holidays and Megan McKenna in fresh promo

    Salad brand Florette is aiming for the skies this...

    Carbonated drinks brand, TRIP, launches functional mushroom and adaptogen range

    Soft drinks brand TRP has launched a new range,...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses...

    Groundbreaking integration trial between Gander and Snappy Shopper yields remarkable results

    In a landmark trial, two leading tech firms joined...

    57% of businesses expect to never be fully cashless

    Cash is here to stay, with nearly 6-in-10 businesses (57 per cent) expecting to never be entirely cashless despite the widespread adoption of electronic,...

    Groundbreaking integration trial between Gander and Snappy Shopper yields remarkable results

    In a landmark trial, two leading tech firms joined forces to revolutionise convenience shoppers' user experience, culminating in outstanding results that promise to reshape the food...

    Bread, cereal maker warns of possibility of higher prices

    UK’s leading bread and cereal maker has warned of potentially higher prices in the coming months citing “very small” grain harvests in the UK...