It’s not just trick-or-treaters who make out like bandits on Halloween. Candy manufacturers are cashing too—one bite sized piece (or if you’re lucky, a full-sized bar) at a time. Because the holiday is popular in North America, Europe, and parts of Latin America, October is perennially the biggest month for global trade in confections and chocolate.
In 2012, October candy imports were 1.6 times larger than imports in April—the month with the lowest volume—and 10% higher than November, the month with the second highest volume.
In 2012, 43% of countries imported more candy in October than any other month of 2012, according to the International Trade Centre.
The US is the largest importer of both chocolate and confectionery products, buying up $3.6 billion worth from overseas in 2012. (Confectionery includes candies, chewing gum and candied nuts, but not those items if they contain cocoa.) Germany is a distant second place, importing nearly a billion dollars less candy than the Americans. Globally, $32.4 billion worth of candy was imported in 2012.
The Germans stand to benefit the most from increased importing of chocolate and confections—they’re the world’s export leaders. In 2012 they shipped 9.9% of the world’s exported confections and 16.7% of the world’s chocolate with a combined value of $4.9 billion.
The United States—a top-ten exporter as well—has been importing larger and larger volumes of candy each year. Adjusting for inflation, it imported 28% more in October 2012 than in October 2009, according to data compiled by the International Trade Centre.
While US demand is a huge part of the fluctuations in global candy shipments, a seasonal peak in October is found in most of the top candy traders in the world. Some nations reduce their buying by nearly 50% in the off seasons.
And a majority of the sweets are being bought by the developed world. The EU and North American countries bought 60.3% of the world’s recorded edible chocolate and confectionery imports in 2012 even though the two regions only accounted for 41% of all world imports that year. The areas are inhabited by 15% of the world’s population combined, according to the World Bank.