Whether it’s to fill up easter baskets and plastic eggs for the kids, or snagging a bag of cadbury mini eggs before they’re out of our lives for another year, Americans spend millions on Easter candy each year. According to data from the National Retail Federation, the average American typically spends about $20 on Easter candy, and some years Easter is actually the top candy-selling holiday of the entire year.
As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly analyzing trends in online commerce to help brands understand how various events (like Easter) impact consumer behavior. So, with Easter around the corner, we wanted to discover:
- Which Easter candy is most popular among consumers?
- Which ones get the biggest boost during the Easter season?
- And did the pandemic change anyone’s Easter candy shopping habits last year?
To find out the answers to these questions, our data science team chose an array of candy varieties and analyzed market demand on Amazon over the past few years.
When is online demand highest for candy?
To best understand which types of candy are the most popular during Easter, we thought it would help to start by better understanding exactly when Easter candy experiences the most demand.
As you’d expect, the types of candy most associated with Easter experience a huge surge in demand during the spring. Demand rose by as much as 23% during the week of Valentine’s Day, dipped slightly, and then began a steady climb throughout late February and all of March.
The week just before Easter, which fell on April 4th last year, saw demand peak at an impressive 117% increase vs the annual average.
Which types of candy are the most popular during Easter?
Now let’s dive a little deeper into the data, starting by examining demand for different types of candy on Amazon during that week of March 28th - April 3rd.
Here’s what we found:
Out of the twelve candy terms in our analysis, Peeps and jelly beans combined for nearly half of all demand during the week leading up to Easter. And once you throw in third place Cadbury Eggs, you’ve got 57% of all demand from this group.
(Peeps lovers: keep this in your back pocket next time someone mocks your favorite Easter treat.)
Skittles were the next most popular while Starburst Jelly Beans rounded out the top five.
Which types of candy get the biggest boost from Easter?
While the previous chart showed us how much of the total weekly demand each type of candy got during Easter, we really wanted to see which candy got the biggest boost relative to the rest of the year.
To do so, we took average weekly demand from March 4th through April 4th for each type of candy and compared it to their average throughout the year.
Cadbury Eggs and Peeps both saw demand up by over 200% while jelly beans, Cadbury Mini Eggs, and Starburst Jelly Beans all saw demand increase by 99% or more.
Our more “standard” candy options, while still certainly popular during easter time, remained popular enough throughout the rest of the year to see little to no increase in average weekly demand.
To better visualize Easter’s impact on candy sales, we charted weekly demand for Jan 2021 through the first of March 2022.
As you’d expect, demand for specialty Easter candies spend most of the year at or close to zero, then skyrocket in Mid-March before peaking the week of March 28th.
Chocolate Bunnies certainly see the most dramatic lift, as they spend almost the entire year with demand at zero. Starburst Jelly Beans, meanwhile, experienced more consistent popularity throughout the rest of the year, but they’re still far and away at their most popular during easter.
For a comparison, here’s the same view for the more “standard” types of candy in our analysis:
Here we see that Valentine’s Day is the biggest time of year for most of these “standard” types of Candy. Sour Patch got the biggest Easter bump out of these types, with a 10% increase in demand during the week leading up to the holiday.
October also drove some demand, but it’s all about Valentine’s Day as we can see yet again at the end of our chart with the 2022 view of the holiday.
How has COVID-19 impact online demand for Easter candy?
There’s no question that the past couple of Easters were unlike any in generations. In 2020 the holiday fell early on in the pandemic, as Americans were still adjusting to a new normal of working from home, social distancing, and self-quarantining. As a result, millions of Americans were undoubtedly forced to adjust their holiday plans on the fly.
While there’s no question that last year’s easter wasn’t nearly as locked down as 2020’s, it still fell during the midst of the Delta Variant surge.
So, we wanted to see if Amazon saw a change in Easter candy shopping habits over the past couple of years compared to 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, and how 2022 is shaping up so far.
2020 actually online demand for our combined candy terms surge far ahead of pre-pandemic levels during the months of March and April. This is not much of a surprise when you consider that those months saw grocery stores and supermarkets temporarily closing their doors and millions of Americans choosing to shop online for groceries.
2021, meanwhile, saw demand fall behind 2020’s tremendous levels, but they did still surpass 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers, suggesting that people are growing increasingly more likely to turn to Amazon to help stuff their Easter Baskets.
Let’s examine this same view for last Easter’s most popular candy: Peeps.
This time it was last year that saw the largest single month out of all three years, with 2020 experiencing a strong March and April. Once again, 2019’s pre-pandemic Easter saw the lowest of all three years, further evidence that Easter candy shopping is shifting further online.
Let’s close with a high level view of Easter specific candy and how monthly demand changed for each of them during March and April over the past 3 years:
2020 was huge across the board for each of the types of Easter candy. Chocolate Bunnies saw demand rise by 600% during March and April 2020 compared to 369% in 2021 and 251% in 2019.
On the whole, meanwhile, 2021 saw online demand for each type of candy drop from 2020’s heights, but remain ahead of 2019’s with only one exception. Cadbury Mini Eggs saw online demand rise by only 59% last year compared to 2019’s 84% increase.
A lesson for brands
From our data, it’s clear that major holidays like Easter can significantly increase demand for both seasonally specific products like chocolate bunnies and Peeps, but also for items that you can sell year round like jelly beans and regular chocolate candy.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, get in touch today.