Sweet-toothed Chinese consumers turn to chocolate

Wednesday, 23 October, 2013

Chocolate is set to be the next big thing in China, according to a new report from Canadean. The market research firm says that, although sugar confectionery remains the largest category in the Chinese market, chocolate is set to be the fastest growing.

Despite the country’s economic slowdown, the Chinese confectionery market has remained buoyant. The sector is expected to continue to grow over the next five years, with a value Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.5% forecast to 2017.

In 2012, the Chinese confectionery sector was sixth largest out of the fifteen sectors monitored by Canadean.

Sugar confectionery is by far the largest category of the sector, comprising 73.1% of the sector’s value and 86.6% of its volume. Canadean forecasts that category growth will fall just below the sector average for both value and volume, at 9.4% and 9.2% CAGR respectively. Canadean says this suggests that Chinese consumers will retain strong interest in this more traditional category.

China confectionery sector category shares by value and volume.

The gum category recorded a 6.8% volume share in 2012. Although per capita consumption remains low, China is now the world’s second largest market by volume, exceeded only by the US. The category is expected to show positive growth to 2017, with a CAGR of 6.2% for volume and 9.5% for value.

While the Chinese chocolate category only accounted for 6.6% of volume in 2012, rising prosperity has seen a growing consumer interest in the category in recent years. Canadean forecasts that both value and volume will grow above the sector average to 2017, with CAGR of 10.1% and 7.4% respectively.

Convenience stores were the primary distribution channel for confectionery in China between 2009 and 2012, accounting for just less than half of the entire market. However, the channel posted a fall in overall share, Canadean said, as did food and drinks specialists.

In contrast, supermarkets and hypermarkets - the second largest distribution channel for confectionery - increased its share. Canadean says this supports the increased presence of such stores across China, and the channel’s growing importance in a number of sectors.

This information is based on findings from Canadean’s report, ‘The Future of the Confectionery Market in China to 2017’.

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