Growing Confectionary Industry Driven by Global Market Trends

Published Feb 26, 2024
The global confectionery industry is thriving, driven by evolving consumer preferences and innovative trends. The industry has maintained steady growth, with total revenue reaching USD 1.05 trillion in 2023 and projected to increase to USD 1.48 trillion by 2028. Market trends such as health-consciousness, premiumization, and sustainability are shaping the industry, with consumers seeking healthier, ethically sourced, and personalized confectionery options. Major players like Mars Incorporated, Mondelēz International, Ferrero Group, Nestlé S.A., and The Hershey Company are leading the charge with diverse portfolios of iconic brands. As the confectionery industry keeps up with shifting consumer preferences, it remains a vital source of delight, providing a diverse array of indulgent treats to people all around the globe.

Global Confectionery Industry Overview

The global confectionery industry represents a dynamic and ever-evolving sector that caters to the indulgent cravings of consumers worldwide. With a rich history spanning centuries, confectionery products have transcended cultural boundaries to become beloved treats enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. From traditional sweets to innovative creations, the industry continues to thrive through its ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences, technological advancements, and emerging trends. As one of the most resilient segments of the food and beverage market, the confectionery industry remains a cornerstone of pleasure and enjoyment, offering a diverse array of flavors, textures, and experiences to tantalize the taste buds of consumers across the globe.

The global confectionery industry has shown remarkable resilience and growth despite market fluctuations. As of 2023, the industry's total revenue reached USD 1.05 trillion, reflecting a steady upward trajectory. Forecasts for 2024 predict a further increase to USD 1.11 trillion, demonstrating sustained consumer demand and market expansion. Looking ahead to 2028, the industry is projected to continue its upward trend at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.78%, with forecasted revenue reaching USD 1.48 trillion, indicating significant growth opportunities and continued innovation within the sector.

Figure 1. Global Confectionery Industry Value 2018 to 2028

Source: Statista

In terms of volume, the industry reached 132.93 billion kilograms (kg) as of 2023. Looking ahead, forecasts predict further expansion, with the total volume projected to increase to 137.27 billion kg by 2024 and to 152.50 billion kg by 2028. In terms of market share, preserved pastry goods & cakes represented the largest market share in 2023 at approximately 48.35%, totaling 64.27 billion kg. Ice cream reached 27.87 billion kg, holding around 20.97% of the market share. Sugar confectionery amounted to 23.09 billion kg, accounting for about 17.37% of the market share. Finally, chocolate confectionery contributed 17.7 billion kg, representing approximately 13.31% of the market share. These figures underscore the diversity within the confectionery market, reflecting the varied preferences and consumption patterns of consumers worldwide.

Figure 2. Global Confectionery Industry Market Share 2023

Source: Statista

In 2024, the global confectionery industry's revenue is anticipated to be significantly influenced by several key countries. The United States (US) is expected to maintain its position as a top contributor with a projected revenue of USD 199 billion, driven by its robust market and diverse range of popular brands. Japan is also poised to play a significant role, contributing USD 180 billion to the industry's revenue, owing to its rich confectionery culture and strong consumer demand for high-quality sweets. With an estimated revenue of USD 73 billion, China is anticipated to capitalize on its growing population and increasing consumer spending power, becoming a major player in the global confectionery market. India is forecasted to contribute USD 49 billion, reflecting a rising appetite for indulgent treats among its large population. Nigeria's emerging market is projected to reach USD 48 billion, reflecting a growing appetite for indulgent treats among its young and expanding population. These countries collectively shape the trajectory of the global confectionery industry, driving its growth and evolution in 2024 and beyond.

Figure 3. Global Confectionery Industry Top Players Forecast for 2024

Source: Statista

Global Confectionery Industry Trends

  • Health-Consciousness: As health awareness rises, consumer demand for healthier confectionery options is surging. According to the National Confectioners Association (NCA) of the United States, 44% of consumers are now seeking confectionery products that are sugar-free or low in sugar. Also, according to Blue Diamond, 50% of consumers globally are seeking healthier versions of chocolate. This shift has spurred the emergence of plant-based and low-sugar alternatives, along with products that are free from artificial additives and allergens.
  • Premiumization: There's a willingness among consumers to invest more in superior, indulgent confectionery products. This preference has fueled the demand for upscale chocolates, artisanal sweets, and gourmet treats, highlighting a focus on ingredients sourced ethically and sustainably.
  • Innovation and Novelty: Continuous innovation and novelty are key drivers in the confectionery industry, with manufacturers introducing new flavors, formats, and packaging designs to capture consumer interest. The Blue Diamond research states that 67% of global consumers are seeking flavor innovation in confectionery. Also, plant-based chocolates and candies, as well as novel ingredient combinations, are gaining popularity among adventurous consumers.
  • Sustainability and Ethical Sourcing: The confectionery industry is witnessing a notable shift towards sustainability and ethical sourcing practices. Consumers are increasingly demonstrating a heightened awareness of the environmental and social impacts associated with their purchases. Consequently, they are showing a preference for brands that demonstrate a commitment to ethical sourcing, including initiatives such as fair trade certification and support for small-scale farmers. Research conducted by Blue Diamond reveals that a substantial 72% of global consumers actively seek products with transparent ingredient sourcing, underscoring the growing importance of sustainability and ethical considerations in consumer decision-making processes.
  • Personalization: Within the confectionery industry, there is a growing emphasis on customization and personalization. Brands are increasingly offering options for tailored packaging, flavors, and product arrangements to accommodate individual tastes and dietary needs. A prominent illustration of this trend can be seen with M&M's, which enables customers to personalize their selections both in physical stores and online. This customization extends to choosing specific colors, packaging styles, and even incorporating personalized images or text onto the candy.
  • Globalization: The confectionery industry is increasingly globalized, with multinational corporations expanding their reach into new markets and consumers gaining access to a wider range of international confectionery products. This globalization has also facilitated the exchange of culinary influences and flavor trends across different regions.
  • Functional Confectionery: The market for functional confectionery is experiencing significant growth as consumers increasingly seek treats with added health benefits. Fortified with vitamins, minerals, or probiotics, these products are gaining popularity, offering consumers more than just traditional indulgence. Additionally, plant-based options are emerging to meet the rising demand for healthier and sustainable alternatives. The forecasted value of the functional confectionery market is expected to reach USD 2.98 billion by 2029, with a projected CAGR of 4.13%.

Global Confectionery Industry Top Players

  • Mars Incorporated: Based in the US, Mars manufactures its confectionery products globally. Its renowned brands include Mars, Snickers, M&M's, Twix, and Dove. In 2023, Mars reported a revenue of approximately USD 50 billion.

Figure 4. Mars Incorporated Product Examples

Source: The Grocer
  • Mondelēz International: Headquartered in the US, Mondelēz operates manufacturing facilities worldwide. Its portfolio features Cadbury, Milka, Toblerone, Oreo, and Trident. In 2023, Mondelēz reported a revenue of approximately USD 36 billion.

Figure 5. Mondelēz International Product Examples

Source: Food Navigator - USA
  • Ferrero Group: Originating from Italy, Ferrero has manufacturing operations across the globe. Its well-known brands include Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Kinder, and Tic Tac. In 2023, Ferrero reported a revenue of approximately USD 18.4 billion.

Figure 6. Ferrero Group Product Examples

Source: Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery
  • Nestlé S.A.: Based in Switzerland, Nestlé has manufacturing facilities worldwide. Its confectionery brands include KitKat, Smarties, Aero, and Nestlé Crunch. In 2023, Nestlé reported a revenue of approximately USD 105.6 billion.

Figure 7. Nestlé S.A. Product Examples

Source: Nestlé
  • The Hershey Company: Founded in the US, The Hershey Company manufactures its products primarily in North America. Its popular brands include Hershey's, Reese's, Twizzlers, and Kisses. In 2023, The Hershey Company reported a revenue of approximately USD 11.2 billion.

Figure 8. Hershey Company Product Examples

Source: Food Navigator - USA

In conclusion, the global confectionery industry stands as a vibrant and resilient sector, catering to the diverse tastes and preferences of consumers worldwide. From traditional favorites to innovative creations, confectionery products continue to transcend cultural boundaries, providing indulgent experiences enjoyed by people of all ages. The industry has demonstrated steady growth, with forecasts projecting further expansion in both revenue and volume. Key trends such as health-consciousness, premiumization, sustainability, and personalization are shaping the industry's landscape, driving innovation, and meeting evolving consumer demands. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and innovation, the global confectionery industry is poised for continued growth and success in the years to come.

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