Not A Trick: Candy Buyers Have Vastly Different Profiles

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, October 30, 2019

It’s that time of year again where you walk into any grocery or convenience store and there they are -- hundreds of Halloween candy bags lining the aisles.

How does one choose between the mixed bag of mini chocolate bars or the bag of candy? Well, it turns out purchasers of chocolate versus candy are often quite different people. 

With the rise of data and the ability to accurately mine consumer insights, one can now see a much clearer picture. Each month we will take a deep dive into our database of 240 million U.S. consumers to take a look at seemingly similar audiences and reveal some major contrasts.

This month, we examined the millions of U.S. candy buyers.

For a little perspective, there are 34.2 million seasonal chocolate Halloween candy buyers, per IRI-CPG Audience. Seasonal non-chocolate Halloween candy eaters weigh in at 19.8 million consumers. Buyers of both are at 5.4 million (so there is roughly 10% duplication.)



What did we find out about these audiences? Here are the top-line results.

Non-Chocolate Buyers Like their Snapchat and Soccer

Candy fans tend to skew more multicultural and middle-class with a higher concentration in the South. They are glued to their phones and always checking their Instagram or Snapchat to keep up with their social circles. 

They are big on self-enhancement and openness to change, and value achievement and gaining power. Having said that, it’s not surprising that they tend to be deep into competitive sports, regularly participating and watching boxing, soccer and basketball. 

Here are some key differentiating stats:

Age: The majority are Millennials and young Gen Xers (skews age 30-49). Most are married with kids, and household income skews $75K-$150K. These families are more likely to be multicultural (Hispanic or African-American) and live in the South and Midwest.
Self-enhancement, being open and exposed to learning about new things tends to be a big part of their value set.
They tend to look to celebrities and the influencers they follow to dictate what’s hot and what’s not. They immerse themselves in cultural experiences and consume content to learn something new.
Interest Areas: It’s not uncommon for them to participate in kickboxing, cross fit, extreme sports and obstacle races. They are passionate about fashion, celebrities and music, especially rap/Hip hop, R&B & Latin music
Media: They are heavy gamers and regular Instagram, Snapchat and Reddit users.

Chocolate Candy Buyers Like Their Cooking and Their Cable TV

A large percentage of chocolate buyers are Boomers with more conservative values and mindsets. There is a high concentration of white, 55-plus-year-old couples living in the Northeast. They value American traditions and spending time with friends and family. They also tend to enjoy some of the simpler things like gardening and cooking. 

Here are some key differentiating stats:
: A large percentage are older Gen Xers and Boomers (skews age 55+). The majority are married and have kids. Their household income tends to be slightly lower than candy buyers ($50K-$100K). They are predominantly white, with a higher propensity to live in the Midwest, Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic states.
With a conservative mindset, their behaviors and interests are strongly driven by tradition, comfort and security.
This audience prefers to purchase American-made products, especially when there is comfort and utility top of mind. This group believes in traditional roles in the family. Life is about community and enjoying the cards that have been dealt.
Interest Areas: 
This segment enjoys the comforts of the home such as cooking and gardening as well as hunting, fishing and following NASCAR. They often regularly listen to rock, country and jazz.
Media: Traditional media is often the media of choice, such as newspapers, TV and radio.

So there you have it. While you wouldn’t necessarily think there would be a big difference between candy buyers and chocolate buyers, their interests and values have proven to be vastly different.

These insights help inform marketers of their target audiences’ likes and dislikes, so not matter what the shopping season, their messaging and offerings fall more regularly into the “treat” category. 

Editor's note: The data analyzed in this commentary is derived from M1, which is Dentsu Aegis Network’s proprietary database of personally identifiable information of 242 million U.S. adult consumers. 

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