While there are many factors behind the lackluster performance, writes senior analyst Nick Fereday in his report, ‘A Nation of Suckers’, the primary problem appears to be that chewing gum is just not as cool as it used to be.
Teenagers, historically the biggest consumers of gum, says Fereday, are losing interest: “We are witnessing a cultural shift where chewing gum along with other habits such as smoking are no longer viewed as cool.”
We are witnessing a cultural shift where chewing gum along with other habits such as smoking are no longer viewed as cool
So how bad is it?
According to the sales data, pretty bad, and getting worse, notes Fereday, who says the decline accelerated in 2013 with sales down 3% and volumes down 5%, driven by a dismal performance across every category (bubble gum sales -3.2%, sugared gum - 4%, sugar-free gum -2.8%).
“Sugar-free gum volumes turned negative in 2011 and have been falling faster than sugarized gum sales ever since.”
Meanwhile, IRI data for the first three months of 2014 show sales were down almost 5% compared to the same period in 2013, driven by weak performances from market leaders Mondelez International (Trident, Dentyne, Stride) and Mars (Orbit, Extra, 5, Eclipse, Doublemint). However, both Hershey and Perfetti bucked the trend, with the Ice Breakers and Mentos brands both delivering double digit growth, he says.