Confectionery in Asia Pacific remains small in comparison for per capita consumption, but has seen healthy growth across the region illustrating ample room for development. During 2012-2017, growth was largely driven by India. While gum struggled in some major markets such as China and Japan, both chocolate and sugar confectionery registered healthy growth rates over 2012-2017 – with chocolate outperforming sugar confectionery – translating into strong absolute growth forecasts for 2017-2022.
A low per capita in a very populous region coupled with healthy growth means good opportunities for confectionery players if they understand and respond to the challenges in the region well. These include distribution, affordability and increasing awareness for health and wellness concerns.
Although not the largest market in actual terms by far, India registered the strongest absolute growth in constant terms over the period 2012-2017, ahead of China and Japan, illustrating the growth potential in this country. This potential for growth is underpinned by a young population with a median age that is 10 years below that in China and 20 years below the median age in Japan.
In both China and Japan gum sales have seen strong decline affecting gum’s performance across the region. In China, schools are teaching children about potential health issues related to gum and a negative impact on the environment discouraging younger people from gum consumption, while in Japan the decline is mainly driven by a decline in the number of the smoking population.
Many Asia Pacific countries have a retail landscape still geared towards traditional retail. Particularly for chocolate confectionery this is a challenge if outlets do not have refrigerators to chill products in hot climates. Improvements in distribution alongside manufacturers investing in affordable small pack sizes are expected to drive growth in developing regions where consumers remain very price-sensitive.
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