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January 07, 2022

Chocolate sales surge despite economic collapse

As we continue to wean ourselves off the recession, data keeps trickling in as to what rose, what fell and what catapulted off the edge in terms of sales and consumer behaviour.

There were the usual suspects during the downturn: car sales, for example, plummeted as expected.

But where guilty pleasures were concerned – the general comforts we were expected to turn to in times of financial despair – it wasn’t quite clear how they’d perform.

Sex, it was said, was down. Surprisingly, so was gambling. Was every fun vice we had going to suffer along with our bank accounts?

Thankfully, it appears, no. Chocoholics stood strong in the face of economic trouble last year, resulting in a worldwide increase of belly-plumpin’ sales.

According to U.K. research firm Mintel, China and the Ukraine (“two countries not necessarily recognized for their rampant chocoholic populations”) saw the biggest rises. Chocolate confectionary sales rose 18% and 12%, respectively, in those nations in 2009.

While most countries saw more modest gains – 5.9% in the U.K., 2.6% in the U.S., 3.2% in Belgium, 1.8% in Argentina – it was the Swiss who, predictably, spent the most on chocolate this past year.

Mintel reports Switzerland’s choco-buffs spent an average of US$206 per person in 2009, compared to just US$55 per American.

While the research firm provided no info on Canada, the data makes you wonder: what comforts did we still allow despite the recession?

Tell us, what guilty pleasures did you continue to indulge in during the penny-pinching downturn?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...