Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Some 17.9 million Americans buy boxed chocolate in an average 12 month period, according to Roy Morgan data.

If we were to draw a pen portrait of an average chocolate buyer, she would be an older, relatively traditional woman living in the Midwest or Southern regions of America. 65% of chocolate buyers are women; 52% are over the age of 50, and 66% live either in the Midwest or the South.

Their values and attitudes paint a picture of traditional middle America, but with a tendency to love shopping: 67% “enjoy grocery shopping”; 55% “enjoy clothes shopping”; and 39% agree they “were born to shop”. Further, 86 % like to try free samples in supermarkets and almost 77% say they will go out of their way in search of a bargain.

Chart 1: Incidence of boxed chocolate purchases

Source: Roy Morgan profile survey April 2011 n= 2,181.

However, an interesting conundrum emerged in the Roy Morgan data – where chocolate buyers are more likely than the average American to be watching their weight and trying to do all the right things for their health.  For instance, 69% “would like to be able to lose weight”; 68% “prefer to eat healthy snacks”; 62% “restrict how much fattening food they eat”; 52% are concerned about their cholesterol level, and more.

These chocolate buyers are not necessarily focussed on cooking, and family meals (they are more likely to order home delivered food or eat out), but they are interested in their homes and homemaker activities.  They are above average readers of such magazine genres as TV magazines, House & Garden, Women’s Lifestyle, Health and Family, General Interest and Food and Entertainment.  For TV, their preference runs to TV soaps, home shows, talk shows – in fact, most TV except sport, business and comedies.

Special analysis of the Roy Morgan household panel shows that Hershey’s Pot of Gold was the most purchased box of chocolates in the 2010 Christmas holiday season, with 18% of all households that purchased boxed chocolate buying Hershey’s Pot of Gold. Whitman’s and Russell Stover were also popular boxed chocolate varieties during the holiday season.

Chart 2: Most popular brands of boxed chocolate

Source: Roy Morgan consumer panel survey, November/December 2010, n = 176.

Around Christmas, the price of chocolate is a key factor in deciding which brand to buy with 28% of purchasing households citing it as the main reason they bought that brand of chocolates. Purchasers of Hershey’s Pot of Gold were particularly motivated by price with 62% of purchasers buying it because of its price. Nearly half (48%) of all households that bought boxed chocolate did so when it was on sale or at a reduced price at the time of sale, and another 12% bought boxed chocolate that was part of another type of promotion, such as a store coupon or a gift with purchase.

Portia Morgan, VP Business Development, at Roy Morgan Research, says:

“As could be expected, during the holiday season the most popular reason for buying boxed chocolate is as a gift (37% of purchasing households). However, people are still buying boxed chocolate as a treat for themselves (31%) and when entertaining at home (10%). Shoppers respond to price and sale incentives when buying boxed chocolates.”

These findings are just the latest in a series of special consumer profiles from Roy Morgan Research. This survey was conducted with 2,181 Americans in April 2011. The household purchasing data is sourced from the Roy Morgan consumer panel of 2,124 Americans in November - December 2010. The Roy Morgan American consumer panel has tracked the same household's purchases since 2005.

A comprehensive profile on Boxed Chocolate Candy Buyers includes their demographics, attitudes, activities and media consumption.

Contact Profile

Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is Australia’s best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
Shaun Ellis
P: 03 9224 5332


Chocolate, the traditional comfort food, still has a place



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