Happy Valentine’s Day

Editor’s note: Reprinted with permission of Clair Robins and candystore.com candystore.com.

It’s no secret people spend big on Valentine’s Day. Flowers, jewelry, romantic weekends away. Candy is no exception, as it’s expected that $1.7 billion will be spent on candy for the sweetest holiday. Every year the National Retail Federation estimates spending for holidays like Valentine’s Day. They divide it up into categories like jewelry, clothing, gift certificates; you name it. This year for Valentine’s Day they are estimating a slight drop off in spending in all categories. Except one: candy.

It’s too popular on Valentine’s Day to ignore.

That got us thinking. What’s the most popular Valentine’s Day candy? We thought it might be obvious, but we went ahead with some research anyway. We’re glad we did.

It took some digging through sales data. We went through over 10 years of it. CandyStore.com is an online bulk candy store, so we have access to a lot of data. Looking at Jan. 1 through Feb. 14 sales data from our records and industry partners, we found out a few interesting things.

First, we looked at the top Valentine’s candy overall. An interesting trend revealed itself in the numbers. Those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that have reigned supreme in our minds as the quintessential Valentine’s Day candy? They aren’t number one anymore. They’ve been usurped.

As you can see from the infographic, conversation hearts have been gaining ground on the heart-shaped boxes and finally overtook them last year. It’s the same trend we observed over the full 10 years. Conversation hearts just keep getting more popular. Though we won’t have all the figures in until after Feb. 14, 2018, this year’s expected to be the same, with conversation hearts increasing their lead slightly.

This is a significant deviation from what we expected. The classic heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are ingrained in our minds as synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Obviously, conversation hearts are popular too, but no one expected them to be more popular.

Then we asked ourselves if there could be any more surprises. There are dozens of types of Valentine’s Day candy. These two were at the top for the entire span of the data set. But does this hold true for every state? Or are there some regional preferences where a third type of candy stands out?

So we dug deeper into the data to find out which candy was selling to what states. The map illustrates that, indeed, there are differences from state-to-state. Some of them are pretty surprising.

Although the top two candies are mentioned heavily, we do see some states that show a slightly stronger preference for something different. Candy necklaces?

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