Snack Food’s Highs and Lows

Snack demand rises to its height for the year during the week of Valentine’s Day and the Super Bowl, to its second peak during the week of Halloween, and then a third peak two weeks before Christmas.

Snack foods have a unique place in American culture. They are intrinsically tied to our annual and holiday celebrations, our indulgent habits, and other milestones. When viewed as a whole, our data scientists have uncovered clear seasonal patterns in consumer demand for snacks on Amazon. To measure demand, we use our proprietary algorithm for estimating the number of searches for snacks on Amazon during a given period.

As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly analyzing trends in online commerce to help brands understand consumer behavior to drive their own sales. So, to celebrate National Junk Food Day (July 21), we asked:

  • Which junk food categories and brands have the highest demand on Amazon?
  • Are there any patterns in junk food demand throughout the year?
  • How has demand for junk food changed since the start of the pandemic?

Demand is Seasonal

Demand reaches its lowest points at the end of June and during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is probable that people are less likely to buy snacks after eating large meals and attending multiple celebrations that are common during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and have no need to seek their own junk food after eating the snacks provided at holiday parties. This has been the overall pattern for the last three years. It is interesting to note that whoever came up with the idea for a National Junk Food Day probably did so to stoke demand because it occurs at the time of the year when the demand for junk food is typically very low.

Junk Food Categories with the Highest Demand

The junk food categories that have the highest demand on Amazon include chocolates and candy, followed by chips, baked goods, meat snacks, and popcorn. Snack categories that are more difficult to obtain through Amazon, such as soda, pizza and ice cream, have lower demand.

Three Patterns of Seasonality

When we break snack foods down into subcategories, three patterns of seasonality emerge.

The first seasonal pattern concerns chocolate and candy. Demand for these sweets peaks during the weeks of Halloween, Christmas, Easter, and Mother’s Day. It reaches its maximum demand during the week of Valentine’s Day, likely thanks to the tradition of chocolates as a Valentine’s gift.

The second pattern is a low at the end of June, during the week of Thanksgiving, and the week right after Christmas. This pattern has been consistent over the past three years. Interestingly, demand for chocolate and candy did not spike significantly in the three weeks after the announcement of the pandemic on March 11, 2020, unlike the demand for other junk food categories, as we will see below.

The third pattern of seasonality occurs within the healthy snacks, chips, baked goods, and soda categories. These all experienced a spike in demand for three weeks following the declaration of the pandemic on March 11th, 2020. After that, they resumed with our first seasonal pattern: a peak during the week of Valentine’s Day and the Superbowl, a peak during the week of Labor Day, and then low demand during the week of Thanksgiving.

Interestingly, healthy snacks experience their greatest rise from Thanksgiving until early February (Superbowl and Valentine’s Day). It may be that right after overeating on Thanksgiving, people start to try improving their health by consuming healthier snacks and probably do well with their New Year’s diets and exercise until their healthy habits are derailed by Superbowl watch parties and Valentine’s Day chocolates. Demand for healthy snacks on Amazon is greater than the demand for chips, baked goods, and soda, possibly speaking to the types of products consumers have in mind when visiting the ecommerce giant.

Our fourth seasonal pattern in demand for snack food includes meat snacks and popcorn. These categories reach their peak demand two weeks before Christmas and have relatively low demand the rest of the year. Both meat snacks and popcorn experienced a brief spike in demand that lasted for about two months after the pandemic was declared.

Which Junk Food Brands Have the Highest Demand?

When we look at the brands of chocolates, candy, and chips that have the highest demand, we find that demand is dominated by only two or three brands in each category. For chocolates, the brands with the highest demand are M&Ms and Hershey’s Kisses.

Sour Patch Kids and Skittles lead the demand for non-chocolate candy brands on Amazon.

For chips, consumer demand is highest for Doritos, Pringles, and Cheetos.

Changing Consumer Preferences

Consumer demand for all categories of junk food has increased over the past year. Candy led the way with a 19.5% increase in demand YoY. Popcorn and chocolate were next with increases of 16.2% and 15.7%, respectively. Meat snacks grew the least with only 0.1% YoY growth.

For brands of chocolate, the demand for Hershey’s Kisses on Amazon has increased substantially since Q3 of 2019 and has overtaken demand for M&Ms and Almond Joy. Demand for Kit Kats, Snickers, and Butterfingers has been decreasing. Demand for Twix is low but steady.

With respect to brands of non-chocolate candy, Skittles garners the most demand, with Sour Patch Kids and Hot Tamales battling for second. Meanwhile, demand for Nerds is slowly increasing, but demand for Dots, Tootsie Pops, and Starbursts is flat or decreasing.

Demand for brands of chips has been decreasing since the start of the pandemic with the highest demand being for Fritos and Pringles. Demand for Pringles on Amazon surpassed demand for Doritos for three quarters during the past two years. Perhaps the variety of flavors and ease of delivery of a can of Pringles has made them attractive to Amazon shoppers.

Junk Food Roundup

Our analysis shows that the junk foods with the highest demand on Amazon are chocolates, candies, and chips. The seasonality of demand for these junk foods coincides with major US holidays and the Super Bowl with predictable patterns of peaks and troughs in demand.

The highest demand for individual brands of chocolate, candy, and chips on Amazon is focused on only a few brands for each subcategory that battle for demand each quarter.

Our insights into consumer search and shopping indicate there is seasonality to many junk and healthy food products–from candy to popcorn and more. Understanding shifts in consumer demand timed to specific events or milestones is important for brands and retailers who must forecast inventory to coincide with seasonal demand for different products throughout the year.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right. If you’d like to learn more about how you can leverage our data to help your brand win online, schedule a demo today.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads
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Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.

1. Go Early

In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.

From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.

From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.

It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.

Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.

The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.

Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.

Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.

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