Candy is everywhere. With the holiday seasons approaching, the global trade of chocolates and candies reaches its peak.
From Canada to South Africa, China to Australia, October was the largest month of chocolate imports in many countries around the world. According to a Quartz analysis of data from the International Trade Centre, 34% of nations saw peak chocolate imports in October, from 2009 to 2018. November was highest for 20% and December was highest for 10%.
Non-chocolate candies, saw a similar trend, with imports rising in winter months. The peak is again in October, when 23% of countries saw their highest imports of the year.
The US is the biggest importer of both candies and chocolates. It accounted for 21% of global candy imports and 11% of global chocolate imports in 2018, the most recent available data. By volume, 22% of candies and chocolates consumed in the US were imports, according to a report by IndexBox. The winter rush of sweets in the US effectively starts with preparation for Halloween.
In seven out of the past ten years, October was the largest month of imports of candies and chocolates for the US. The rest three had the biggest month of imports in September.
The peak of chocolate and candy imports coincides with the busiest time for the industry: Halloween. Christopher Gindlesperger, the spokesman for the US National Confectioners Association, told Quartz that Halloween is the Super Bowl for the US chocolate and candies industry.
Despite peaking in October, the $465 million of imports is only a small fraction of the US candy market. Gindlesperger says that in the six weeks ahead of Halloween in 2018 $4.5 billion worth of chocolate and candy was sold in the US. This exceeded the $4.1 billion in sales during the winter holidays, the $3.5 billion brought in around Valentine’s Day and the $3.5 billion sold around Easter.
For countries that do not celebrate Halloween like Americans do, the peak month of imports can be indicative of local holiday trends. Japan’s holiday season doesn’t start until November, and that’s when its sweets imports peak. In South Korea, peak candy and chocolate is January, which is often when the lunar new year falls and is one month before the Valentine’s Day.
October has consistently been the peak month of imports for the top 10 importers of chocolate.
Non-chocolate candies follow a similar seasonal pattern, though the peak month of imports do not always fall on October.