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    Who's Buying Candy in Your C-store?

    In January 2017, 63.8 percent of c-store shoppers made a candy or gum purchase. This makes your customers' favorite sugar cravings an important category in your c-store. Learning about who they are and why they are buying can help you offer the best selection.

    Types of Candy Purchases

    Some of the most common instances of candy purchases are:

    • Checkout counter consumers grabbing candy or gum
    • Shoppers that have a sweet night-time cravings
    • Customers looking for an afternoon pick-me-up
    • Buyer looking for indulgences for special occasions
    • Parents purchasing surprises and rewards for children at home

    Women with a Sweet Tooth

    As far as candy purchases go, women tend to buy candy around 8 percent more than men. Many women see chocolate, candy, or cookies as a treat or reward for when they need to indulge or relieve stress, while men typically reward themselves with salty foods such as burgers or other meat items. This has been a cultural norm for quite some time and may be one of the reasons that women tend to purchase candy more often than men. Some other reasons women are the top candy buyers include:

    Women like to binge; 34 percent of women occasional partake in binge snacking behavior.

    A way to pass time; 23 percent of women eat candy when they are bored and 51 percent snack while watching television.

    Meal replacements; 22 percent of women use candy snacking as a substitute for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and 49 percent use it as a way to curb hunger between meals.

    Satisfy cravings; 52 percent of both women and men claim to use candy snacking as a way to satisfy their current candy cravings.

    Age Matters Too

    Shoppers aged eighteen to twenty-four spend "a whopping 49 percent more than the average c-store candy and gum shopper." This means you should be paying attention to the types of candy that millennials are currently craving. You do not want to miss out on profits because your selection does not cater to younger generations. Some of the current candy trends include sour candy and innovative healthy alternatives to their current favorites. These can range from the popular Sour Patch Kids candies to the organic Pure 7 Dark Chocolate bars.

    As customers age, their taste in candy can change too. Children normally do not associate high-sugar foods with tummy aches and sugar crashes, which means as people get older they are more likely to make better snack decisions. Target younger customers by offering cartoon themed candies or options that incorporate toys within them. These are great for parents who want a fun treat for their children.

    Switching Up Your Selection 

    There are also certain times during the year that c-stores experience a surge in candy sales. Yearly events like the Super Bowl and Halloween are times that people of all ages are coming in and stocking up. These are also opportunities to switch up your inventory. When you know that more customers will be coming in, offer bagged candy or special seasonal editions to draw in impulsive customers. When holidays like Easter or Christmas come around make sure you are offering the holiday-themed versions of classics like Reese's peanut butter cups and Hersey's chocolate bars. Customers who may not normally buy candy may be tempted to purchase during those times a year.

    Learning about who your customers are is important when deciding where you want to display your candy and what type of products you will be choosing throughout the year. Understanding the current trends and knowing who to market towards will get you the candy profits that you desire this year.