Thursday, March 13th, 2014

It’s the great unspoken black hole in our national economy, with almost a million Australians a month flippantly committing the pettiest of larcenies: eating mints they don’t buy.

Last year, 3.6 million Australians aged 14+ ate mints in an average four weeks, but just 2.7 million of these mint-eaters bought any in the same period, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

We’ve all encountered these brazen, fresh-breathed thieves: they enjoy mints but never seem to own them. Their intense boldness parallels the very thing they crave. To withdraw from a purse or pocket one’s own legally, monetarily obtained mints sparks their inevitable question, “Hey friend, can I have a mint?”

For who dares say no? It’s just a mint, after all. So small, so fresh. Within this tiny entity lies flavour both immense and diaphanous. So we proffer our packet, tube or box—and yet the thought comes, loud but never spoken: Get your own dang mints.

On top of the 2.7 million who bought and ate mints, another 180,000 bought mints but didn’t eat any, for a total of nearly 2.9 million buyers. Eclipse Mints are the most eaten (and pilfered), with 1,158,000 buyers in an average four-week period in 2013 and 1,439,000 consumers.

Number of Mints Consumers and Buyers in Australia:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013 - December 2013, n=18,576 Australians 14+

780,000 eat Mentos Mints compared with 616,000 buying them. Only 550,000 Australians buy mint Tic Tacs in an average four weeks, but 747,000 eat them.  

Of course, some of the gap may be due not to mints bandits, but mints misers: those who bought some mints in the late 90s (or maybe just over a month before we interviewed them) and still have a couple rolling around the glove compartment.

The market share of Eclipse Mints has grown for three consecutive years, from being the choice of 31% of Mints Buyers in 2010 to 40% in 2013. Both Mentos and Tic Tac took 23% of the Mint-buying market in 2010. Mentos is down 2% points since then; Tic Tac 4% points, dipping below Mentos only last year.

Eclipse’s dominance is most prominent among Mints Buyers aged 25-34, who are over three times as likely to buy Eclipse (56%) as either Mentos or Tic Tac mints (17% each). Mentos leads only among those aged over 65 while Tic Tacs appeal most to buyers under 25.

% of Mints Buyers who purchased top Brands by age groups:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2013 - December 2013, n=2919 Australians 14+ who purchased Mints in the last four weeks.

Angela Smith, Group Account Manager - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Mints buyers will often have loyalty to a particular brand and be regular consumers. With such patterns already developed and clear preferences across different age groups, an aim for mints marketers could be to investigate and target the million or so Australians who regularly ‘borrow’ mints from these buyers. How to convince these occasional mints consumers to shell out a dollar or two for a packet, tube or box of their very own?

“Roy Morgan’s latest research shows that Eclipse Mints remains the most popular brand. Over the past five years, Eclipse Mints has made gains and developed loyalties among Australians aged 35-49, but those aged 65+ are sticking to their old favourite Mentos Mints.

“Roy Morgan’s ground-breaking new profiling tool, Helix Personas, can assist marketers to refine their search for a more targeted market. For instance, 25% of Australians in the ‘Set for Life’ persona purchased Mints in an average four week period, versus the national average of 15%. Set for Life consumers are typically older, well-educated suburban households, typically retired but still very social and confident.”

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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


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