Chocolate confectionery was hit by the loss of impulse/on-the-go sales, fewer gifting occasions and a disrupted Easter period in 2020 due to Coronavirus (COVID-19), significantly affecting categories such as boxed assortments and seasonal chocolate. However, at the same time, sales in product areas such as chocolate pouches and bags or tablets were being driven by increased at-home snacking and their use as shareable indulgent treats in 2020.
Boxed assortments have been struggling in recent years, particularly in Germany, where these products are increasingly seen as old-fashioned. To compound these products’ problems, COVID-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions significantly reduced social and gifting occasions across the continent in 2020 – serving to hit demand for boxed assortments during the year.
Seasonal chocolate was another category to be heavily impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 – with the Easter season falling in the early days of national lockdowns in most countries. This put a major dent in sales of Easter eggs – with families and friends denied face-to-face meet-ups. Many players donated unsold Easter eggs to vulnerable people or key workers.
Tablets, despite remaining in decline in Germany, helped offset the falling sales in boxed assortments, seasonal chocolate and chocolate with toys in 2020. After two years of regional decline, in what is something of a mature category, the biggest product area in the market returned a positive performance in 2020, driven by a turnaround in the UK (which boasts the greatest sales of tablets), as well as dynamic growth in a number of countries, including Turkey.
Players and consumers have continued to push the market towards more premium chocolate choices, including dark chocolate products with a higher cocoa content, perceived as healthier options. Recyclable/Recycled packaging is also becoming more important, as is ethical sourcing and production.
Chocolate confectionery will return to positive growth after 2020, albeit only at very modest rates. Countlines and seasonal chocolate will be driving this growth.
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