While overall gum sales have struggled at c-stores during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, bubble gum is proving to be a bright spot for gum sales at convenience stores.
At convenience stores, total sugar bubble gum enjoyed dollar sales growth of 7.7% for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 8, 2021, per IRI. Compare that to overall gum (down 13.8%), regular gum (down 10.6%) and sugarless gum (down 14.6%) for the same 52 weeks, per IRI total U.S. Convenience data.
The difference in sales between regular gum and bubble gum might come down to chewing occasions. While customers have been less likely to use gum to freshen breath during the pandemic due to mask wearing, shoppers opting for bubble gum are likely chewing for fun and enjoyment rather than with fresh breath as a goal. This might be one reason for bubble gum’s continued sales growth.
Brands Kidsmania (up 43.2%) Bubble Yum (up 29.7%) Big League Chew (up 17.8%) were among the bubble gum brands leading growth, according to IRI c-store data for the same 52 weeks.
National Retail Solutions (NRS) research has found that soft drinks, fruit drinks and potato chips are most commonly purchased adjacent gum and other candy purchases. C-store retailers can take advantage of cross-merchandising opportunities to maximize bubble gum sales, or feature counter top displays and ask employees to upsell the items at the checkout.
Global Industry Analysts Inc.’s report, “Gums (Chewing Gum and Bubble Gum – Global Market Trajectory & Analytics,” September 2021, noted that given the pandemic, the global market for gums, which was estimated at $29.9 billion in 2020, is now projected to reach a revised $37.4 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7%. Bubble gum specifically is predicted to see a 4% CAGR, reaching $28.9 billion by 2026 in the global market.