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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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail]( THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail]( US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail]( Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.

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