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Snacks Retail Expertise

Consumers Eagerly Await Holiday Season

Consumers are counting down the days until the holidays, and they plan to celebrate in several ways.
Sheree Thomas
Senior Manager, Consumer Insights

Key Takeaways:

    • Consumers are eager for the holidays this year.
    • Across the country, people are most excited about activities such as gifting, decorating, watching movies and baking.
    • Families continue to welcome Hershey products into their homes as part of their time-honored holiday traditions.

November 15, 2023

Tis the season for holiday magic. It’s a time when families gather to decorate their homes with story-filled ornaments and heirlooms; when lights twinkle and candles flicker as friends exchange thoughtful gifts; when movies warm hearts and melt the generations that separate loved ones; when a day of baking brings people together to reflect on the year and the one that’s yet to come.

Our Consumer Insights team polled consumers in October about their sentiments around the upcoming winter holidays. Overall, consumers are excited and ready to embrace holiday traditions.

Holiday excitement is in the air

When we polled consumers, they were deep in their Reese’s Pumpkins, yet they could barely contain their holiday spirit. Nearly 80% of people plan to celebrate the winter holidays, and 94% said they are excited about Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza and New Year’s celebrations. About half of those said they’re even more excited this year than in years past.

According to our research, the top four activities of the holiday season that consumers are most excited about this year are gifting (66%), decorating (58%), watching seasonal movies (54%) and baking (51%). Other highly anticipated festive activities include hanging stockings, parties and gatherings, sending holiday cards, attending religious services and choosing a Christmas tree.

Top 4 activities: Gifting 66%, Decorating 58%, Watching Movies 54%, Baking 51%

Hershey and holiday traditions go hand-in-hand

I love hearing about other people’s special holiday moments, whether they’re baking memorable treats, filling up the candy bowl with treats like Hershey’s KISSES Milk Chocolates with Grinch foils or Cookies N Crème KISSES with Snowman-themed foils, enjoying SkinnyPop popcorn during a holiday movie marathon, sipping hot chocolate while trimming the tree or gifting items like Reese’s tree boxes or Hershey’s Build-A-Santa Milk Chocolate bars. Everyone celebrates differently, and it’s an honor to learn about their traditions, whether they’re colleagues or people I’ve never met, like those who responded to our poll. Some of their comments put me in a holiday mindset. 

“It is fun to watch Elf, Christmas Vacation and other movies while enjoying chocolate snacks,” said one. “We’ll be decorating for Christmas. My tree will probably go up in October sometime. We’ll do gingerbread houses and Christmas cookies… I have five children, so of course there will be gifts … plenty of candy in the community candy bowl on the kitchen table!” said another. And a third wrote, “Every year we host Christmas Eve at our house. We have a buffet of foods with lots of appetizers. We eventually end up with many desserts, mostly centered around chocolate. My table always has a full candy dish with all miniature Hershey’s candy bars.”

Unsurprisingly, holiday treats are a big part of so many family traditions—and they’re loving sweet and salty snacks. Our survey found that about half of consumers (52%) plan to buy the same amount of holiday candy as last year and 13% plan to buy more. They say they’ll put the candy into candy dishes and stuff into stockings. Candy will also be used as gifts and in baking, and, of course, they plan to treat themselves. Similarly, 53% of consumers plan to buy about the same amount of holiday salty snacks as last year, with 11% saying they plan to buy more. While this is positive news, we continue to keep an eye on how inflation and strained personal finances could impact consumer spending with about half of consumers sharing inflation will impact overall holiday plans.  

But the bottom line is that the winter holidays have always been a time to surround ourselves with friends and loved ones and cherish moments together. In many homes, Hershey has been a part of holiday traditions for generations. Being a part of those special moments of goodness is an honor. And Hershey is here for all of it.  

Source: Hershey Pulse Survey