The annual per-capita consumption of chocolate in Switzerland is a notable ten to twelve kilograms. That makes Switzerland one of the countries with the highest chocolate consumption in Europe – only Germany ranks slightly higher. And chocolate treats are especially popular towards the end of the year. With memories still fresh of the calls of “trick or treat” outside our houses and flats, now the atmospheric Advent period is upon us. Accordingly, the voracious appetite for sweets is set to continue. A survey by Ernst & Young revealed that the most popular gifts last year in Switzerland were food items, including sweets. Places two and three went to books and toys. The average budget for gifts last year reached a new record figure, of CHF 310.
Last year sales of sweets in the two biggest economies in Europe, Germany and France, totalled a staggering 410,000 metric tons, with a total value of EURbn 3.7. According to forecasts, the market volume is set to surpass EURbn 4 in 2023, reflecting an annual growth in sales of 3.9%. Worldwide, the USA is the most important market for sweets. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the industry's big hitters are headquartered there. The uncontested number one is Mars, with annual sales of around USDbn 18. Places three and five are filled by further groups based in the USA, in Hershey and Mondelez. Taken together, this listed duo account for roughly the same level of sales as the runaway market leader, Mars. View more information on investment solutions on the topic “The tills never ring more sweetly”.
As mentioned earlier, it is not only sweet things that cause hearts to beat that bit faster around this time of year; toys are likewise strongly in demand. However, in recent years the industry has grown to become an ever more important economic sector after Christmas as well. In 2018, the market volume ran to an impressive USDbn 90, which was 17% more than five years ago. With a market share of just under two thirds, the USA is the global leader when it comes to toys, just as it is with sweets. In Mattel (famous above all for the Barbie doll), and Hasbro, which markets probably the most well-known board game, Monopoly, leading corporate groups are based overseas. According to forecasts by Euromonitor, the games market in the USA is set to increase by 4% annually to 2020. For western Europe, the experts are even predicting average growth of 5.3% over the same period.
A glance at our neighbours suffices to show that consumers are not allowing themselves to be put off in the slightest, despite the recent economic slowdown. In Germany, the largest economy in Europe, a representative survey commissioned by the corporate consultancy Ernst & Young indicates that consumers intend to spend an average of EUR 281 on Christmas presents. That is just EUR 1 less than in the record year of 2018, and significantly more than the average over the past ten years (EUR 246). After cash and vouchers, this year once again it is sweets, books and toys that are the top favourites.