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Candy Companies Look Toward an Unusual Halloween

The Candy Industry’s Most Important Season Is Here

The candy industry is preparing for a Halloween season like no other. Halloween is the most important holiday of the year for candy companies, followed by Christmas, Easter, and Valentine’s day. During a typical year, Halloween drives 14% of the candy industry’s yearly $36 billion in sales.

COVID-19 will likely impact trick-or-treating, parades, parties, and other Halloween events this year. However, candy companies are finding creative ways to reach customers and give them a taste of normalcy this Halloween.

Marketing Halloween Candy Early

Halloween candy sales early in the season have been remarkably high. In stores like Meijer and ShopRite, candymakers have rolled out their Halloween products earlier than usual this year in hopes of getting a jumpstart on sales. So far, this strategy seems to be working.

During the month ending September 6, Halloween candy sales were up 13% compared to the same period last year. Chocolate sales surged by 25% during the same period. These are much larger than average year-over-year increases.

Stocks to Watch

These early-season numbers are a relief for candy companies, but many are still concerned about how sales will hold up in late October. Mars Wrigley reports that 55% of its Halloween candy sales happen during the last two weeks in October when people stock up for trick-or-treaters.

A number of cities including Springfield, Massachusetts and Antigo, Wisconsin already announced that trick-or-treating will be banned this year. However, Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo announced he will not prohibit trick-or-treating in the Empire State. A number of other states and cities have yet to make decisions about regulations on the Halloween tradition.

As Halloween season unfolds, investors will be carefully watching to see how candymakers adapt to unusual conditions. Companies like Mondelez International (MDLZ), which makes Sour Patch Kids and Toblerone, Nestlé (NSRGY), which makes Laffy Taffy and Crunch bars, and Hershey’s, which makes Reese’s peanut butter cups and Twizzlers, could see bittersweet results over the next month.

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