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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Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (6th September 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

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Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (30th August 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC]( Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve]( Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard]( Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (23rd August 2022)

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail]( GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian]( Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire]( H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](

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