Predictions for 2011 called it the “year of the pie.” Some could argue 2012 began as the “year of the donut.” This versatile treat received a renewed interest from many retailers across the country, which drove the category’s dollar and unit increases compared to the prior year. Though traditional cake and yeast donuts still dominate category sales, many variations, such as bacon-topped or apple-filled donuts, have made their way onto in-store bakery displays.
In the 52 weeks ending June 30, 2012, donuts contributed 7.4 percent of total bakery dollar sales across the United States, steady from the previous year. Nationally, donuts averaged $785 per store per week, a 4.1 percent increase. Similar to other categories within the bakery department, the donuts category includes both packaged and self-serve donuts from the case.
The top three weeks for average donut sales occurred in February, peaking the week ending Feb. 25, 2012, at $977 per store. The category registered its lowest sales during the weeks following Thanksgiving and Christmas, likely a result of over-indulgence during the prior weeks. Donuts decreased average dollar sales just eight of the latest 52 weeks.
Average weekly dollar sales for the donut category grew in every U.S. region compared to the previous year. The Central region continued its success within the donuts category with the highest increase in average donut dollars of any region. Central region average weekly dollar sales reached $1,378 per store, and contribution to total bakery sales increased 0.3 percent to 12.1 percent (the highest contribution of all the regions). The West region also surpassed the national average with $803 per store per week. Despite a steady dollar contribution to total bakery sales, the South region recorded the fewest average weekly dollars per store for the donuts category at $632.
Self-serve accounts for half of sales
Within the donuts category, bulk/self-serve remained the category driver, accounting for half of all sales. Dozen and half-dozen programs have proven successful at many retailers, recording an additional 30 percent of category sales. Packaging the most successful bulk donuts into half- or full-dozen boxes can provide a convenient solution for shoppers and build the basket size. Mini donuts, led by glazed gems, accounted for another 11 percent of sales.
Recent Nielsen Perishables Group research using FreshFacts® Shopper Insights powered by Spire concluded that with a relatively high purchase frequency and broad buyer reach, retailers can use donuts as a category for defining their image. Whether focused on value, innovative flavors, or gourmet products, the image should remain consistent across all bakery categories to communicate a clear value proposition to shoppers.
This sales review is provided by the Nielsen Perishables Group. Reported results are for July 9, 2011, through June 30, 2012, representing 62.4 percent of national supermarket ACV share. For more information, contact the Nielsen Perishables Group: Kelli Beckel, 773/929-7013; email: email@example.com.