|Hersheys Kisses Deluxe, a new chocolate launched in China.|
Hershey’s Kisses chocolates have surpassed $100 million in annual sales in China, making it the first Hershey Co. brand to reach this milestone in a country outside of the United States.
Moreover, Hershey’s Kisses chocolates is the company’s fastest growing brand globally, with more than 40 percent of sales now coming from outside the United States.
“Kisses chocolates have become an iconic product for Chinese consumers. What started as ‘little Hershey’s Kisses with a big chocolate taste’ has evolved into a favorite product to share and for gifts for the most important occasions, such as weddings and special holidays,” says Max Rangel, senior v.p. of the Chocolate Strategic Business Unit at Hershey.
He says consumers connect with the brand on an emotional level.
“Even with strong growth in recent years, hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers have yet to experience the delicious taste of Kisses and that is a huge opportunity for us,” Rangel adds.
In addition to classic Kisses milk chocolates, Kisses Cookies & Creme also have become a signature flavor among consumers in China.
Gifting makes up 30 percent of the Chinese confectionery market, and consumers are looking to Hershey’s chocolate for many special occasions including Christmas, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day and weddings.
Hershey’s Kisses iconic shape and plume and the special Kisses packaging have set the brand apart from other products and offer consumers a distinct chocolate experience.
In just five years, Hershey’s Kisses brand sales in China have grown 20-fold, reflecting the dramatic growth of the country’s confectionery market.
By 2016, China is forecasted to be the No. 5 confectionery market in the world with more than $14 billion in sales. And, Hershey expects China to become its No. 2 market, behind only the United States, by 2017.
Growth in China is a key strategic element of Hershey’s goal of $10 billion in global sales by 2017, with 25 percent coming from Hershey’s international markets.
New Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe – A Premium Brand for China
As part of its growth plan in China, the chocolate company recently introduced Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Chocolates in the country.
The candies are twice the size of Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates and feature a whole hazelnut in the center surrounded by rich milk chocolate with crisped rice, wrapped in a special gold foil.
The product was developed to fit with Chinese consumers’ demand for a unique, premium chocolate that offers rich deliciousness and genuine thoughtfulness, perfect for gifting.
“With Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Chocolates, we took an iconic confectionery brand and re-imagined it for the Chinese market based on deep consumer and market insights,” Rangel says. “This premium version of one of our most famous chocolate brands is a great example of Hershey’s global strategy to expand our portfolio globally while tailoring products to meet local consumer needs.”
Hershey supported the Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Chocolate launch with an integrated marketing campaign that included sampling events and in-store retail displays in approximately 380 stores. A launch event at the Hershey’s Chocolate World store in Shanghai culminated with a marriage proposal from a Hershey’s Kisses fan.
Kisses Around the World
Consumers around the world have an emotional connection to Hershey’s Kisses chocolates.
First introduced in the United States in 1907, Hershey’s Kisses chocolates have been a special part of American life for generations, particularly during U.S. holidays and family gatherings. The appeal of Hershey’s Kisses chocolates as a gift or symbol of affection has spread around the world including Latin America, particularly Mexico, one of Hershey’s key international focus markets.
With market share at 7.3 percent, the brand is now Hershey Mexico’s leading chocolate brand, supported with a strong range of products for everyday gifting that enables consumers to express their love for friends and family.