Chocolate Holiday Shopping Survey 2016

Survey reveals America’s most popular chocolate holidays

November 30th 2016: According to the survey by, Halloween is the most popular holiday to shop for chocolate, although more people actually associate the bittersweet treat with Valentine’s Day.

The holiday of love took second place to Halloween, with Christmas and Easter bringing up the rear in third and fourth place. Regardless of the holiday, shopping for chocolate is easy (and tasty) and you can find it everywhere from Target stores to Amazon online. Getting deals and discounts on chocolate is even easier.

Holiday Survey: Who’s Buying Chocolate and When?

37.3 percent of survey respondents stated that they go shopping for chocolate more on Halloween than on any other holiday, but 32.7 percent of those same respondents associate chocolate with Valentine’s Day more than any other holiday.

25.8 percent of respondents stated that they shop for chocolate more for Valentine’s Day than other holidays, putting it at second place. Christmas was in third place with 21.2 percent of respondents claiming they shop more for chocolate for St Nick’s big day. 15.7 percent of respondents said they shop more for chocolate for the Easter Bunny’s spring festivities.

Men Vs. Women

Halloween was an equally popular chocolate shopping day among both men and women. However, 26.5 percent of men claimed to shop more for Valentine’s day than other holidays. A slightly lower percentage of women said the same, 25.5 percent.

Approximately 15 percent of both men and women said they shop more for chocolate for Easter, while 23.6 percent of women and 20.5 percent of men said that Christmas was their dominant holiday for chocolate shopping.

By Age

Age was not a big factor in respondents’ holiday chocolate shopping habits. Halloween had the number one spot and Valentine’s Day was in second place for most age groups.

For 55-64 year olds Christmas and Easter took second and third place respectively, with Valentine’s Day coming in last. Christmas was in second place for 65+ year olds, with Easter coming in last.

The Bittersweet Chocolate Industry

In addition to the chocolate holiday shopping survey, took it’s love of chocolate to a deeper level and explored the global route that brings us the bittersweet joy that we call chocolate.

It’s All About the Beans

With a global market valued at approximately $110 billion, the reach of the chocolate industry is immense. 5.5 million cocoa farmers harvest 3,890 metric tons of cocoa beans annually. It takes approximately 400 beans to produce a pound of manufactured chocolate.

The Path of the Cocoa Bean

The top five cocoa producing countries are (in tons of cocoa beans per year):

  • Ivory Coast – 1,796
  • Ghana – 740
  • Indonesia – 325
  • Ecuador – 250
  • Cameroon – 232

The daily income of farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana is $0.50 and $0.84 respectively, both of which are below the poverty level.

Cocoa Bean to Cocoa Butter (and Powder)

Once the cocoa beans are sold by farmers to international exporters, they are then sold to cocoa processors who convert the beans into power and butter.

The top three global grinders are Barry Callebaut, ADM and Cargill, which are responsible for 2 million tons of cocoa processing each year collectively.

Cocoa Powder to Chocolate Bar

After the grinders have had their way with the cocoa beans, they sell their powder and butter to the chocolate manufacturers that we recognize as bringing the luscious brown stuff to us. The top five global manufacturers are (in tons of beans processed per year):

  • Mondeléz (USA) – 450,000
  • Nestlé (Switzerland) – 430,000
  • Mars (USA) – 390,000
  • Hershey’s (USA) – 200,000
  • Ferrero (Italy) – 120,000

Nationally within the US, the top five manufacturers are Hershey’s, Mars, Nestlé, Lindt and Russel Stover. Together, Hershey’s and Mars are responsible for almost 75 percent of the US chocolate market.

The chocolate industry is a perfect example of a global industry. Global exports total more than $25 billion per year, with the US exporting $1.6 billion of that sum.

Chocolate Factory to a Candy Store Near You

Once the chocolate leaves the chocolate factory, it is then sent to retailers around the world for sale to consumers. $21 billion worth of manufactured chocolate is sold each year in the US alone. That is the equivalent of 764,000 metric tons of cocoa beans.

The top five countries by per capita consumption per year in pounds of the good stuff are:

  • Switzerland – 19.4
  • Germany – 18.5
  • Russia – 16.1
  • UK – 15
  • US – 12.1

Chocolate Industry Infographic

With Chocolate Holiday Shopping Survey

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Steve Cuffari

Steve is a writer, researcher and avid traveler from NYC. His favorite products to save money on are travel, food and beverage and tech gear. If you have any questions or suggestions, just email him: