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Base strategy on ‘candy champions’ for big sales gains: NCA and DunnhumbyUSA

By Oliver Nieburg+

20-Mar-2014
Last updated on 20-Mar-2014 at 17:18 GMT

'Candy champions' make 42 confectionery purchases a year, spending an average of $5 each time
'Candy champions' make 42 confectionery purchases a year, spending an average of $5 each time

Confectioners should focus on the hard-core candy consumers that make up the bulk of sales, according to the National Confectioners’ Association (NCA) and DunnhumbyUSA.

Candy champions are the 8% of US confectionery consumers that account for 24% of sales, Larry Wilson, vice president, customer relations at the NCA and Leslie Liss, vice president commercial solutions at consumer research firm DunnhumbyUSA told the  NCA State of the Industry Conference in Miami this month.

“They drive growth and drive the business and are those who are more likely to be emotionally loyal,” said Liss. “It’s about keeping them, getting them to spend more and to get more of them.”

Candy champs buy confectionery 42 times a year

According to DunnhumbyUSA, a candy champion buys confectionery 42 times a year and spends an average of $210 – that’s $5 a visit.

“On the shopping trips, they are buying across the snacking spectrum,” said Liss, meaning confectioners should base their strategies around these fanatics.

She said manufacturers must get to know these customers and personalize their experience, perhaps rewarding loyalty.

The speakers said that if manufacturers could encourage a quarter of their current consumers to make two more candy visits a year, it would be worth an extra 0.6% of sales, and would bring these consumers into the candy champion category.

Are you a candy champion?

Times the amount (in US dollars) you spend on confectionery per week by 52. If the figure nears 240 you are a hard-core candy consumer. 

‘Do we want to be the bread aisle?!’

Larry Wilson said the key to getting more candy champions was creating excitement in-store.

An NCA survey found that 42% thought the candy aisle was no different to the bread aisle. “Do we want to be the bread aisle?!” said Wilson.

He said that manufacturers should work with retailers to leverage the emotion of candy in stores so the confectionery aisle becomes more like a candy shop and consumers stayed engaged. “If you are going to do it, make it fun,” said Wilson.

Get champions buying more: Candy in the flower department

Confectioners should also aim to encourage candy champions to buy one more item every forth trip, which would be worth 2.4% of current industry sales, said the speakers.

“The place to start is to take yourself outside the candy aisle,” said Liss. She said there were many possible points of interruption in store that could inspire more purchases such as candy in the flower department or candy in the birthday card aisle - these are consumers looking for gifts.

Companies could co-promote with other snack brand in non-confectionery categories, she added.

The speakers said that if confectioner could get candy champions to buy one more every forth visit and get a quarter of consumers buying candy on two more occasions a year, it would be worth an extra  $204m in sales for the category.

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