With some 81% of American consumers eating chocolate, the future outlook for the U.S. chocolate candy market is bullish, according to a report by market research publisher Packaged Facts. By 2018, Packaged Facts expects sales of chocolate candy in the U.S. to exceed $26 billion for the first time, up from roughly $22 billion in sales estimated by the end of 2015. Most important, the category is quite dynamic: with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers.

Several factors support a continued growth curve for the market. One, the market has continued growing despite the economic climate, underscoring consumer devotion to the product. Two, the growing perception of the product as an accessible luxury creates many opportunities to trade the consumer up to premium products. Three, a growing body of research supports the status of cocoa as a superfood, with multi-dimensional nutritional benefits. This positive halo around chocolate enhances its image as a guilt-free indulgence, and can ultimately drive more consumption.

There are also challenges faced by the industry: including the public concern about the cocoa farming process, and short-term, the supply of cocoa. Overall, however, the industry is poised for continued growth based on the many positive trends now unfolding in the market.

Chocolate Candy in the U.S., 10th Edition segments and quantifies the market by channel and product type, providing historical sales figures and forecasts through 2018. The report examines market size, drivers and trends, retail sales-tracking data from IRI and SPINSscan, new product trends, and national consumer survey data, both from an extensive analysis of Simmons data as well as the proprietary Packaged Facts Chocolate Usage Survey. The report also thoroughly maps out the competitive situation at the marketer and brand levels, with detailed profiles of Hershey, Mars, Russell Stover, Nestle, Lindt and others.

Learn more about Chocolate Candy in the U.S., 10th Edition.