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Vast majority of chocolate-bar buyers get their fix from supermarkets

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2014 – June 2015 (n=4,791).

We’ve all heard about the dangers of grocery-shopping on an empty stomach, but where’s the harm in one little chocolate bar? According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, 6.5 million Australians aged 14+ (or one-third of the population) buy at least one chocolate bar in an average four weeks – with almost five million of them making the purchase at a supermarket.

In the year to June 2015, 4.9 million Aussies bought at least one chocolate bar from a supermarket in any given four-week period – accounting for more than three-quarters (76%) of the chocolate-bar buying public.

Convenience stores/petrol stations come a very distant second, accounting for 8% of all chocolate-bar buyers (or 498,000 people), but still well ahead of vending machines (a fraction over 1% or 86,000 people) and milk bars/corner stores (also just over 1%, or 81,000).

Curiously, 13% of people who bought chocolate bars can’t say where they made their purchase.

Where do Australian chocolate-bar buyers buy their chocolate bars?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2014 – June 2015 (n=4,791).

Given that a higher proportion of women than men are their household’s main grocery-buyer, it makes sense that women are slightly more likely than men to buy chocolate bars at the supermarket: 78% of total female chocolate-bar buyers make their purchase at the supermarket, compared with 74% of their male counterparts.

However, men outnumber women when it comes to buying chocolate bars just about everywhere else: from milk bars/corner stores and newsagents, to cafes/takeaways/sandwich bars, vending machines and sporting grounds.

Cadbury 50mg bars (eg. Dairy Milk, Top Deck etc) are the most popular brands purchased at supermarkets and milk bars/corner stores, but are practically deadlocked with Kit Kats for top spot at convenience stores. Meanwhile, Snickers is the hands-down number-one chocolate bar purchased from vending machines.

Andrew Price, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Since 2011, there has been a marginal decline in the proportion of Australians 14+ buying chocolate bars in an average four-week period, from 35% to 33%. This decrease is evident across most places of purchase, except for supermarkets, which are holding steady.

“Of course, if we’re already at the supermarket doing the grocery-shopping, it’s easy and convenient to pick up a chocolate bar while we’re there. But that doesn’t explain why people who never do the groceries are almost as likely as main grocery-buyers to purchase chocolate bars at the supermarket!

“Of all non-grocery-buyers who purchase chocolate bars in an average four weeks, 75% buy them at the supermarket – only slightly behind those who usually do the groceries (77%). Even considering how much cheaper chocolate is at the supermarket, it seems unlikely that such a large proportion of non-grocery-buyers would make a special trip to the supermarket simply for a chocolate bar. However, even these people must presumably need to visit a supermarket for the occasional item…

“While it is impractical for other retailers to compete with supermarkets in terms of price, they might benefit from considering how else to entice shoppers to buy chocolate bars from them. Gaining an in-depth understanding of who buys which brand of chocolate bar — their demographics, attitudes, consumption habits and more— would be a logical starting point...”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%