Top Seven Dates for Confectionery

What are the top seven most important dates for a confectionery marketer?

UK research shows that more than 40% of Brits confess to being chocoholics and nearly half of these consumers would struggle to give it up! Are you one of them?

With a lot of data out there on chocolates, occasion confectionery and gifting seasons, all different in terms of timing, here is our take on the most important dates throughout the year, based on absolute market opportunities.

Christmas, Easter and Halloween are of course the obvious top three, read on to find out when else you should be considering marketing your confectionery brand.

1. Christmas: £1B


Christmas, of course, is at number one! A 30% share of annual marketing spend is allocated to this festive day when it comes to confectionery, targeting the 90% of consumers who buy confectionery for gifting at Christmas (Nielsen).

According to data from Mondelez, in 2018 Christmas confectionery was worth a whopping £937m and this sector’s market share grew twice as fast as Christmas food and drink at 4%.

Would you believe that the children’s confectionery category alone is worth £528m at Christmas! So, if you are going for massive brand growth, targeting parents may be a great tactic. If you are a niche, high-end brand, targeting away from those audiences can offer a higher affinity in some cases.

When it comes to chocolate, £61 million was spent just on Christmas chocolates in 2020 (Kantar). As a whole, the Christmas period was the top time to advertise the confectionery sector; largely due to 20% and 38% increase on spending on food during the festive season (Grocer 2022).

2. Easter: £892M


Whilst Easter is the number one occasion associated with chocolate, we’ve already seen that it loses 1st place to Christmas when it comes to confectionery as a sector. Easter is, however, by far the biggest occasion for chocolate buying, taking a 54% share of the total spend, with nearly half of that spend going to Easter eggs; that’s £415M in the UK alone!

If you are marketing a chocolate brand and Easter eggs are part of your offering, this is undeniably the most important date in your marketing calendar. However, without Easter eggs, the opportunity is much smaller than during Christmas, with consumers looking for a variety of options.

3. Valentine’s: £470M


In total Brits’ spend on Valentine’s is nearly £1B, with around half going towards chocolates. (Mintel 2021).

These gifts aren’t just being delivered to lovers though; 68% of single ladies celebrate ‘Galentine’s’ where they spend this day with their friends. (Statista)

With average spend at Valentine’s being around £25, most consumers named chocolates their second choice of gift, the first being flowers. (Finder 2021) This is the data from 2021 and we may observe an adjustment to those figures in 2023 as we slowly see a return to normal spending patterns post-COVID.

4. Halloween: £200M


Out of all the money spent during Halloween £500M, 40% goes towards sweet treats. (Mintel)

According to The Drum, the actual confectionery spend leading up to Halloween is estimated at £2B! This figure (Kantar 2021) is based on the 10 weeks leading up to Halloween and showed growth of 2.5% (and also includes sales of pumpkins).

The poll by Savvy found the most common way consumers are joining in with Halloween celebrations is by buying sweets, chocolate and other treats, most likely to dish out to trick-or-treating youngsters!

5. Advent: £100M


According to data from Google, searches for ‘chocolate advent calendar’ rates most highly from the 17th – 23rd of November.

A 2018 survey by GlobalData, based on responses from 2,000 people, found that a huge 73% of buyers still planned to purchase chocolate advent calendars, with the value of spend per person coming in at anything from £15 to over £100; this presents an opportunity of over £100M for brands with chocolate advent calendars!

We also need to account for the non-confectionery calendars (such as Lego and beauty products) which are now amounting to 13% of all advent calendars. Even taking those into consideration, the size of the opportunity is still significant. With the Advent category growing at 21% YOY, this should be one of the premier dates in your marketing calendar. (Nielsen)

6. Pancake Day: £68M+


Chocolate spreads, sweet syrups, sprinkles and Smarties all see a 3% growth driven mainly by the popularity of social media. Consumers are buying toppings and nuts to embrace home-baking and are going to town with elaborate and delicious variations!

7. Mother’s Day: £50M+


According to Statista, Mother’s Day gifting is a £1.3B opportunity. 85% of Brits believe Mother’s Day is an important day (GlobalData) and among those planning to buy gifts for their mums, 42% intend to buy chocolates. Interestingly, 34% of women choose to try unusual, newly launched or on-trend versions of desserts and confectionery.