Chocolate sales in major US and German markets under pressure
A survey has revealed two of the world’s largest markets for chocolate – the USA and Germany have suffered sluggish sales growth over the past five years.
Present figures showed the American market stood at $18.9 billion, compared to $16.5 billion five years ago. This was reflected in a drop in the country’s chocolate consumption levels – from 1.42 billion tonnes in 2012 to 1.41 billion this year.
Meanwhile, Germany’s figures were $7.6 billion in chocolate sales this year, compared to $6.8 billion five years ago. Its consumption rates are presently 648 million tonnes, down from 679 million five years ago.
According to the research figures, last year in Germany, consumers last year have on average a total of nine chocolate bars less than in 2011.
The closest sales contender to the US in terms of sheer volume was Russia, which saw $8.6 billion (compared to $4.9 billion five years ago), with the UK standing at $7.9 for 2017, against $7.6 billion for 2012.
Despite the comparatively low levels of growth, Euromonitor said that many manufacturers still derived high levels of profit from their goods.
However, the report recognised the industry would need to work harder globally to increase chocolate’s appeal in a fast-changing marketplace.
As Euromonitor explained, there is now a far broader umbrella of what can be considered snacks.
Not only are products such as snack bars and meat snacks rising in prominence, but products that have not traditionally been associated with snacking - such as cereals and yoghurt products - are now being transformed into products which can be consumed on the go.
The research group believed this represented a threat to existing levels of chocolate consumption, as many manufacturers seek to drive value growth, while markets in the Middle East offer opportunities.
A Euromonitor food analyst said: “Chocolate remains one of the most exciting consumer goods in the world. While many products become stale and settle into a pattern of steady growth, chocolate continues to innovate. At present, however, the industry appears relatively brittle, with sclerotic growth in core markets and significant headwinds in “holy grail” markets, such as China, Brazil and Russia.
“These are challenges that the leading manufacturers are attempting to circumvent, but may not be in the best position to do so - consumers are more concerned with quality than ever before, and are trading upwards to purchase premium chocolate where possible. In other markets, chocolate still remains unaffordable and, equally important, difficult to sell due to climatic conditions.
“These factors, combined with insecurities in the supply side of the equation, represent a tipping point in chocolate, whereby the current evolution of how the product is sold will determine how and where growth occurs in the long term. This briefing assesses the changing face of chocolate.”