Whatever happened to brand loyalty? Well, it’s still there, but will most likely disappear in the face of a well-timed promotion that provides consumers with a bargain.

What’s disconcerting for some candy and snack manufacturers, and perhaps opportunistic for others, is the percentage of consumers willing to do so.

According to Chicago-based Market Track’s 2015 Shopper Insight Survey, which focused on buying behaviors and trip drivers between shopper demographics from two panels of 500 individuals primarily responsible for purchasing groceries for their households, nearly 80 percent of shoppers will switch where they shop if prices are lower elsewhere. Moreover, three-quarters will forego the brand they buy if a different brand is on sale.

Although there seems to be a bit more brand loyalty amongst candy and snack purchasers, the overwhelming majority will still be swayed by promotions and sales.

For example, the percent of shoppers within the confectionery and snack categories who are at risk for switching brands if lower prices are available are as follows:

  • 69% candy
  • 69% granola bars
  • 75% cookies
  • 73% crackers
  • 71% tortilla chips
  • 73% potato chips
  • 72% nuts

“Grocery shoppers will switch brands or retailers with the right incentive, and the right incentive is often a better promotion or price,”says Traci Gregorski, v.p. of marketing at Market Track.

In addition, 32 percent of grocery shoppers consider candy to be a trip driver, or a category they would consider buying if it were on sale. This ranks candy 86th out of the 114 categories examined in Market Track’s 2015 Grocery Shopper Insight Series survey.  By comparison, the average across all categories was 44 percent.

Seasonality plays a key role in enticing consumers to look for bargains. As expected, for Halloween, one third of grocery shoppers consider candy a trip driver, ranking it first among the 114 categories examined.  Candy was ranked 9th for Valentine’s Day, 20th for Thanksgiving, and 37th for Easter. 

Conversely, it ranked 97th for New Year’s, 91st for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and 90th during summer holidays (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day). Those numbers suggest there are opportunities for more promotional activities during those holidays.

“The timing of promotions is as important for confectionery as any category out there,”asserts Gregorski.

Market Track’s shopper survey also found that younger consumers consider candy a trip driver much more than their elders. Nearly half (49 percent) of grocery shoppers ages 21-29 identified candy as a trip driver, compared to only 33 percent of those ages 50-59, and 24 percent of those ages 60 and over.