Every year the National Retail Federation estimates spending for holidays like Valentine’s Day. They divide it up into categories like jewelry, clothing, gift certificates, you name it. This year for Valentine’s Day they are estimating a slight drop off in spending in all categories. Except one: Candy.
It’s too popular on Valentine’s Day to ignore.
That got us thinking. What’s the most popular Valentine’s Day candy? We thought it might be obvious, but we went ahead with some research anyway. We’re glad we did.
It took some digging through sales data. We went through over 10 years of it. CandyStore.com is a leading online bulk candy store, so we have access to a lot of it. Looking at January 1st through February 14th sales data from our records and industry partners, we found out a few interesting things.
First, we looked at the top Valentine’s candy overall. An interesting trend revealed itself in the numbers. Those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates that have reigned supreme in our minds as the quintessential Valentine’s Day candy? They aren’t number one anymore. They’re been usurped.
As you can see from the infographic, conversation hearts have been gaining ground on the heart-shaped boxes and finally overtook them last year. It’s the same trend we observed over the full ten years. Conversation hearts just keep getting more popular. Though we won’t have all the figures in until after February 14th, 2018 is expected to be the same with conversation hearts increasing their lead slightly.
This is a significant deviation from what we expected. The classic heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are so ingrained in our minds as synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Obviously, conversation hearts are popular too, but no one expected them to be more popular.
Then we asked ourselves if there could be any more surprises. There are dozens of types of Valentine’s Day candy. These 2 were at the top for the entire span of the data set. But does this hold true for every state? Or are there some regional preferences where a third type of candy stands out?
So we dug deeper into the data to find out which candy was selling to what states. The interactive map above illustrates that indeed there are differences from state-to-state. Some of them are pretty surprising.
Although the top two candies are mentioned heavily we do see some states that show a slightly stronger preference for something different. Candy necklaces?!
You might be surprised by the results, illustrated above in the interactive candy map and also below in the pretty, but non-interactive infographic. Both are embeddable if you’d like to share.
So, which Valentine’s Day candy does your state love the most? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
State By State
Alabamians prefer candy necklaces for Valentine’s Day. Did you know the first Mardi Gras parade in America was in Alabama? Would it be a stretch to find correlation with their favorite Valentine’s Day candy and the function of Mardi Gras beaded necklaces? Probably. I suspect many a date would be spoiled if you tried a move like that. Could be a fun theme for a singles-only Valentine’s party maybe!
Second place was conversation hearts, followed by heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
Alaska’s favorite Valentine’s day candy is the ubiquitous heart-shaped box of chocolates. Did you know that Alaska is so big you could fit 425 Rhode Islands inside it? In fact, you could fit over 60% of the continental US in there! Pick out a state you might like, and pop it in your mouth. Some of them will be wonderful, others disappointing. Just like a box of chocolates.
The Petrified Forest in northwest Arizona is a unique and beautiful sight top behold. If you are petrified of telling your Valentine how you feel. Try some of Arizona’s favorite Valentine’s Day candy, conversation hearts, to get your message across. Don’t be a fossil. Go tell her how you feel! M&M’s came in second place.
Quartz crystal is the official rock of Arkansas, since 1967. A crystal bowl full of Hershey Kisses sounds like a nice gift for V Day! Kisses are the top Valentine’s themed candy here. Arkansans put away over 75,000 pounds of the stuff. Not bad, AR. Not bad at all. Conversation hearts came in second, followed by Ghirardelli chocolates.
Conversation hearts are the number one Valentine’s Day candy in California. “I, like, totally love you” is not something that appears on the hearts currently. So we Californians will have to settle for something a little more traditional. Or not.
A whopping 513,000+ are sold to Californians leading up to Valentine’s Day. So let’s fill up the Hollywood Bowl with conversation hearts and all swim around. Heart-shaped chocolates boxes were #2, followed by chocolate roses.
Colorado is home to more than 70% of all the land in the United States above 10,000 feet. Pretty crazy. Just a little tidbit to start a conversation. Maybe you Coloradans can use that to break the ice with your secret crush. Or maybe you just give them a conversation heart, the number one candy in your state. Over 1986 pounds are purchased for V Day. Box of chocolates was #2, #3 was cupid corn which is the Valentine’s Day version of candy corn.
Apparently, in Hartford it is illegal to walk across the street on your hands. So since circus tricks are out, maybe buy your Connecticut sweetheart a box of chocolates instead. They were the #1 candy in CT, followed by conversation hearts and Wild Berry Skittles. Hmm.
Delaware has no National Parks. No National Park beaches, monuments or battlefields. Nothin. They’re the only such state. If they’re feeling left out, maybe that’s why they needs all those kisses. To make them feel better.
Over 7100 pounds of Hershey Kisses are bought in DE leading up to Valentine’s Day. With no national parks too enjoy, they could us a hug too.
UPDATE: Apparently, my source information on this was outdated. In 2014, Delaware got it’s first national park. Yay
Florida on the other hand has plenty of National Parks. In fact, Miami has two of them within it’s borders alone! It’s true. They throw national parks around like they throw conversation hearts candy around. In bulk.
In Florida, over 222,000 pounds of conversation hearts candy was purchased. Heart-shaped chocolate boxes and chocolate flowers were runners up.
The official state fish of Georgia is the largemouth bass. I wonder if it could fit a whole box of chocolates in there? Georgia certainly has enough of them to spare. They purchase over 75,000 pounds of them on average leading up to Valentine’s Day. It would take an awful lot of largemouth bass to eat all that!
Here’s a conversation starter. From east to west, Hawaii is the widest state. It’s also the farthest south. It’s pretty far out west too, but Alaska gets further west. Probably only because of the curvature of the earth, but I digress.
Of all the 38,000+ pounds of conversation hearts purchased in Hawaii in Valentine’s season, I wonder if any of them say “Hawaii = widest state”. Maybe trivia hearts could be more effective at breaking that uncomfortable ice.
Idaho is the home of world famous Lava Hot Springs. I can’t think of a better place to test whether M&Ms really don’t melt in your hand than when sitting in the hot springs! Science experiments are’t the most romantic ways to spend Valentine’s Day, I will concede. M&Ms were the most popular candy in Idaho. Followed by conversation hearts and Hershey Kisses.
Ever wonder why they call them ice cream “sundaes”? It’s because Evanston outlawed ice cream sodas on Sundays because they were upsetting the church. I guess people were rushing out quickly to get ice cream sodas instead of sticking around afterward. Anyway, after it was outlawed, retailers came up with the idea of simply removing the soda. They needed a new name for this new ice cream treat. I know, we’ll call it the Sunday, that’ll really show them! …You can imagine one retailer back then saying.
Illinois has a lot of candy and confection history. But when it comes to valentine’s Day there’s no need for litigation or naming gags. Chocolate roses are the most popular candy, with people purchasing nearly 53,000 pounds. Conversation hearts came in 2nd, followed by M&Ms.
Indiana is the birthplace of some of the most iconic parts of American culture. James Dean was born here. David Letterman. Professional baseball. Even Santa Claus lives there! There’s nothing more iconic on Valentine’s Day than a heart-shaped box of assorted chocolates. So, it’s no shock that it is Indiana’s most popular V Day candy at over 31,000 pounds.
Iowa is the only state whose east and west borders are are 100% formed by water barriers – rivers, in this case. The Missouri River and the Mississippi. M&M. Obviously this is the reason why M&M’s are the state’s most popular Valentine’s Day candy. Conversation hearts came in second, followed by Ghirardelli chocolate.
There is a ball of twine in Cawker City that weighs over 20,000 pounds and would measure over 1800 miles unwound. The amount of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates purchased in Kansas is almost 4-times that weight. At over 78,000 pounds, they are the winner for Kansas. Followed by M&Ms.
Kentucky has the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States – after Niagara Falls. Have you ever heard of Mammoth Cave? It’s a super massive system of caves and they started promoting it for tourism in 1816. I wonder how many chocolate roses could fit inside? Kentucky should have about 22,000 pounds by Valentine’s Day if they want to perform the fun experiment.
The most popular candy in LA for VDay is conversation hearts. Did you know that Cajuns came from Canada? Yup, they got kicked out when they didn’t want to pledge alliegeance to the King of England in the 1700s. That must be where all that French language influence comes from! I wonder if conversation hearts in Louisiana say “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”
At just over 20,000 pounds, chocolate hearts sales in Maine did not quite reach the same volume as lobsters. Forty million pounds (!) of lobster are caught off the shores or Maine. That’s over 90% of the supply for the entire US. Maybe we need to start selling chocolate lobsters!
The first dental school in America was opened in Maryland. We’ve sent them a lot of customers over the years. Maybe they could name a wing after us. If not us, then surely M&M’s deserves some love from he dental community in Maryland. Marylanders will purchase nearly 14000 pounds of M&M’s for the Valentine’s Day holiday.
In Rockport MA, there is a house that is made completely out of newspaper. Their fire insurance premium must be through the paper roof! Maybe they could make the garage out of heart-shaped candy boxes. That’s the number one candy in Mass. Chocolate hearts and conversation hearts are runners up.
Conversation hearts for the win! Phew. I’m a little relieved. Michigan has had a rough run of luck on favorite holiday candy. Candy corn and it’s variants have taken the top spot for the last 2 holidays. Even though I like the stuff, I have caught some grief from Michiganders who really really don’t like it. Don’t take too much solace, Michigan. Cupid corn still placed #3.
Do the conversation hearts in Michigan say “I wish this was candy corn”? :)
Minneapolis has more golfers per capita than any other city? Really? Is there Ice Golfing too? For any MNers who aren’t playing golf on Valentine’s Day, we recommend conversation hearts as the candy of choice. They are the number one Valentine’s Day candy in your state. Cupid corn was number 2 followed by heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
The world’s largest shrimp can be found in Pascagoula at the Old Spanish Fort Museum. If you’re planning on making the trip over there for a Valentine’s Day date, make sure to bring the conversation hearts with you. They are the number one Valentine’s Day candy in Mississippi.
Everyone knows that Missouri is the “Show me State.” A Missouri congressman famously said “I’m from Missouri and you’ve got to show me.” back in 1899. If you think that means people from Missouri can be stubborn, though I prefer resolute, I submit without comment or judgment that the official state animal of Missouri is a mule.
Conversation hearts are the number one Valentine’s candy in Missouri. Followed by the good old heart-shaped boxes of chocolates.
Oh, give me a home where the conversation hearts roam, and the deer and the antelope play. That home would likely be in Montana, since there 1.4 elk, 3.3 deer and 1.4 antelope per square mile in Montana! And Montana is the 4th biggest state, so that’s a lot of four-legged friends. Oh, and their favorite Valentine’s candy is conversation hearts. Nearly 9,000 pounds around V Day. That would only be about 1oz per square mile (like I said Montana is very big). Not much for the animals to fight over.
Nebraska used to be the Tree Planter’s State. For some reason in 1945, they renamed it the Cornhusker State. Big Agro flexing their influence? Wasn’t that around the time when we all got sold on eating cereal for breakfast? I guess it worked. Nice job Nebraska PR!
Corn did pop up in this state’s Valentine’s Day favorites as well. Cupid corn, the Valentine’s Day version of candy corn, was the #3 candy. Chocolate hearts took home the gold and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates came in second.
Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the US. And #2 in the world, only behind South Africa. That’s not even counting al the gold coming out of Vegas slot machines! But there’s nothing more golden on Valentine’s Day in Nevada than a good ol box of chocolates. Conversation hearts are #2 with chocolate roses coming in #3.
Did you hear about the group of people who went Keene paying people’s expired parking meters? They called them selves Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Then they got sued by the city! But a judge did drop all charges so they are free to continue their work now. Hmm, I wonder if they would do my speeding tickets?
Conversation hearts were the winners in New Hampshire. Followed by heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and heart-shaped chocolates themselves. They’re all heart up there.
The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden and the first baseball game was played in Hoboken. What a charming place New Jersey must be. Boardwalks, salt water taffy, drive-ins and baseball. They also have more toxic waste dumps than any other state – 108. But no matter.
Conversation hearts are the number one V Day candy in Jersey. Maybe there they say “Focus on the wholesome stuff” or “That over there? That’s nothing”.
Santa Fe has the highest elevation of any US capital. 7000ft. At that height, the amount of chocolate roses New Mexicans purchase during Valentine’s Day would go from sea level to 3 times as high as Santa Fe!
The world’s smallest church resides in Oneida. It is 51-inches by 81-inches. That’s 29 square feet. Not going to get many weddings booked there, I wouldn’t think. Maybe some valentine’s Day elopers will get married there.
They’ll surely bring a heart-shaped box of chocolates along. It’s the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in New York. Over 72,000 pounds are sold there.
Tarheel seems like a strange thing to call someone. Apparently, it comes from the days when North Carolina used to produce a lot of tar. People would traipse it all over the place. This tidbit also makes me wonder how many people were tarred and feathered in NC back in the day. Hmm.
Heart-shaped boxes win in North Carolina. Followed by cupid corn and conversation hearts.
Conversation hearts are the top candy in ND. And did you know that in 1987, North Dakota passed a law making English the official language of the state. What the heck they were speaking all that time before then?! And what did they have on their conversation hearts? Native American sayings?
John Glenn loved outer space so much on his first trip in 1962 that he went back in 1998! By then he had aged to 77 years, but the love had not been lost. Rumor has it he took a heart-shaped box of chocolates to offer to the great void. Ok, that’s not true but he was from Ohio and they do love those heart-shaped boxes. Over 53,000 will be purchased there this season.
The National Cowboy Hall of Fame is in Oklahoma City. Which reminds me of the bowlegged cowboy who got fired. Poor guy couldn’t keep his calves together. :)
Conversation hearts are the winners here. Heart-shaped box of chocolates and chocolate roses are runners up.
Whoa, I just learned that Oregon’s state flag is different on either side. It’s the only flag that has two separate designs like that. On the back side, they put a beaver on it.
Chocolate roses is the biggest Valentine’s Day candy in Oregon. Over 32,000 pounds will be purchased this year.
M&M’s continues it’s hold over Hershey in it’s own backyard. M&Ms were also the number one Halloween candy in PA. So where does Hershey fall this year? Well, the second most popular Valentine’s Day candy is heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Since there are different brands of these we lumped them all into one category. Surely Hershey accounts for some of those, right? Right? Conversation hearts are #3.
In 1904, the first jail sentence was laid down for the crime of speeding in an automobile. It happened in Newport. Maybe if that driver would have given the judge some lovely chocolate hearts, he would have been a little lighter with his sentencing. Rhode islanders love chocolate hearts, buying nearly 5700 pounds around Valentine’s Day.
South Carolina knows all about being sweet. They are the leading peach producer east to the Mississippi. What about Georgia? – you might be thinking. I have a few friends from South Carolina, and I suspect their response would be: What about Georgia.
Conversation hearts are number one at over 41,000 pounds.
Belle Fouche, South Dakota is the exact geographical center of the United States. You would think it would be further south and to the east. But that would not be taking into account Alaska and Hawaii. They love their Hershey Kisses in South Dakota too. Kisses were number one followed by conversation hearts and chocolate hearts.
Shelby County has more horses per capita than any other county in the country. I’m surprised there isn’t one in Kentucky with more horses. My favorite horse will always be Mr. Ed “Willllburrrrrr”.
Mr. Ed might appreciate the winning candy in Tennessee: conversation hearts!
Did you know Texas is the only state to enter into the US voluntarily? Yup, they joined by treaty and all the others were a territorial annexation. That’s probably because you can’t make Texas do anything Texas doesn’t want to do.
In that vein, it’s probably bet to stick to heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in Texas. It’s the top candy sold there for the holiday (nearly 700,000 pounds) and you really don’t want to upset your Texas Valentine.
Utah has a sense of humor when naming cities. Levan is in the middle of the state, kind of like your belly button. What’s another word for belly button? Now spell it backwards… It’s like a secret map code joke. Good one, Utah!
Hershey’s Kisses are the number one candy in Utah with nearly 167,000 pounds sold. M&M’s and conversation hearts are runners up.
Rudyard Kipling invented snow golf while living in Vermont! This explains so much. He must have lived in Minnesota too, because they have the most golfers (see above) and probably the most snow too. They were playing the Kipling version this whole time!
Vermont’s top Valentine’s Day candy is conversation hearts, followed by candy necklaces
Yorktown is the site of the surrender that ended the Revolutionary War. It’s state motto is Sic Semper Tyrannis, which means Thus Always to Tyrants. Virginia does not play. So make sure you bring your A-Game when choosing a Valentine’s Day candy for your sweetheart. Here they prefer heart-shaped boxes of assorted chocolates. So surrender your credit card and pick one up for your date.
The world’s largest building is in Everett, Washington. It’s the final assembly plant for Boeing. I wonder how much valentine’s Day candy it would take to fill that sucker up. Would 80,000 pounds of boxes of chocolates do the trick? (That’s how much the state of Washington buys). Actually, I doubt it would!
Did you know there’s a Darth Vader on top of the National Cathedral in DC? Yup, there was a contest where children got to choose the gargoyles back in the 80s. The design for Darth Vader won! If your cruising around DC on Valentine’s Day make sure to get your special Han or Leia a heart-shaped box of chocolate. Even an area as small as DC still orders over 8900 pounds for the holiday.
The frist state sales tax went into effect in West Virginia in 1921, setting a precedent that we can all really appreciate now. Only 5 states remain without sales tax: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. From all the rest of us, gee thanks WV!
Conversation hearts are the top Valentine’s candy here. Over 15,000 pounds sold.
The American Bierkebeiner is the largest cross-country skiing race in America – 52 kilometers. You can follow along on one of Wisconsin’s 15,000 miles of groomed and signed (!) snowmobile trails. Bring some Hershey’s Kisses for the skiiers though, it’s the top Valentine’s Day candy in Wisconsin. Over 39,000 pounds.
Wyoming is gorgeous. It also has the lowest population of all US states. The fact that they still order over 10,00 pounds of chocolate roses is pretty astounding!
So which candy does your state prefer? Does the list above match with what you like or your loved ones would like to receive as a gift?
If you get the wrong thing, just remember that – really – the holiday season is about family and friends. It’s the thought that counts, the gesture that matters. Unless you give me reindeer corn, in which case we are no longer friends.
Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!
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