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Christmas Snacking
Sales of confectionery not so merry in convenience

Many of us fill our cupboards with Christmas biscuits and snacks to keep us going over the festive season. Passing around a sweetie tin and sharing a family bag of crisps is one of the joys of Christmas in living rooms around the country, so you might expect to see an upturn in sales of snacks around the Christmas period.

It’s surprising then that we don’t buy these snacks in convenience stores during the last weeks in December. Throughout the year the rate of sale of snacks in convenience stores is pretty consistent. At a total category level, the rate of sale for snacks, biscuits and chocolate confectionery steadily falls on the approach to Christmas.

Total Weekly Rate of Sale Snacks w40-52
Top 5 snacking products over Christmas 2020
Barcode Product Name Share of total Sales
5000237131138 Hula Hoops Big Hoops BBQ Beef 70g PM100 2.1
5020379150798 Happy Shopper Onion Rings 70g PM65 1.6
5000328205779 Walkers Cheese & Onion 65g PM100 1.5
5000328207278 Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot 65g PM100 1.5
5053990158485 Pringles Sour Cream & Onion 200g PM299 1.3

In the top ten products in the category over the Christmas period (14th-27th December) we do not see any Christmas branded product. Advent calendars did not sell in large numbers in convenience stores but selection boxes had good sales. It is Cadbury and Galaxy which dominate the sales.

The phenomenon described affects more categories than just confectionary - perhaps because the bulk of the Christmas shopping is carried out in Supermarkets and local butchers and green grocers. The convenience store it seems is there to help shoppers with last minute essentials and forgotten items. (See our article from 2020 on how to optimise for last minute shoppers!)

The rate of sale gradually picks up again but only returns to pre-Christmas levels in February. We believe that this New Year lag may be slightly influenced by ‘healthy’ New Year eating but it’s also possible that it simply takes this long for us to empty the cupboards of our secret seasonal stash!

Total Weekly Rate of Sale Snacks
Total Weekly Rate of Sale Alcohol

We looked at all categories to see how each performed over the Christmas period. The only categories that buck the trend are Alcohol, Household, Tobacco and Alternative Smoking.

Total Weekly Rate of Sale Tobacco
Total Weekly Rate of Sale Household
Stores should keep the focus on the products that do well in the final two weeks of the year, ensuring stock levels of those last minute essentials don’t fall.
Total Weekly Rate of Sale Alternative Smoking
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