Halloween, with its eerie charm and the promise of sweet delights, beckons us to explore the world of impulsive sweets purchases. In the spirit of this spooktacular season, we embarked on a captivating journey to uncover the secrets behind our favorite sweet indulgences and investigated Italians’ taste in “spur-of-the-moment” treats and discovered interesting insights. Let’s take a look at them together! 


Impulsive Purchase of Sweets 

Sweet Tooth’s Delight: 

Our first question aimed to identify the product categories that fall under Italians’ idea of sweet purchased on impulse or on the craving of the moment, and thanks to their answers we were able to appreciate how their hearts instantly gravitated toward the irresistible allure of chocolate bars (79%). The rich, creamy indulgence is followed closely by the ever-tempting chocolates and pralines (63%). Not far behind, the crispy satisfaction of wafers (53%) and the nostalgic charm of candies (52%) keep our taste buds enchanted. And even in a world dominated by flavor, the whimsical marshmallow, while not deeply ingrained in Italian culture, captures the hearts of 21% of impulsive sweets buyers. 


Age Matters 

Our sweet preferences, as it turns out, are not set in stone but sway gracefully with the winds of age. The younger generation, aged 18-34, has a soft spot for marshmallows, their taste buds aligning with the carefree spirit of this confection. They also display a slight inclination toward licorice and candies but don’t show the same fervor for wafers. The adults aged 35-44 find their passion in nougat, savoring its unique texture and taste. As for the wise 45-65 age group, they’re not avid fans of marshmallows or nougat, yet they share a sweet kinship with other age brackets when it comes to other delightful confections. 


Favorite types of sweets bought impulsively


Choice Drivers for Impulsive Sweet Purchases 

Indulgence Meets Frugality 

The art of impulsive sweet buying is not just a matter of whims but a careful balance between indulgence and prudence. It’s no surprise that “Toothsomeness” reigns supreme as the strongest driver, with a resounding 50% of respondents affirming its sway. After all, that irresistible blend of flavor, texture, and satisfaction is the very essence of what we crave in a sweet treat. Following closely, “value for money” (40%) and “sense of gratification” (37%) serve as pragmatic compasses, reminding us to savor each morsel while being mindful of our resources. 

This nuanced balance hints at a deeper undercurrent—people remain keenly aware of the price and quality ratio especially in a category of “non-essential” foods. Rising costs of basic necessities and the looming specter of inflation undoubtedly play a role in our choice of sweet indulgences. 


Drivers of purchase for sweets bought impulsively


Sweet Choices and Their Driving Forces 

Our impulsive sweet choices are not just random. The purchase of chocolates, pralines, wafers, and chocolate bars is harmoniously driven by a trio of toothsomeness, sense of gratification, and the sheer ease of consumption. These sweets offer a symphony of flavors, textures, and the instant gratification of a delicious bite. 

On the other side of the sugary spectrum, nougat and licorice enthusiasts find their motivation in the thoughtful selection of raw ingredients, lower sugar content, and portion control. These sweets invite us to savor a different kind of sweetness, one that speaks to our desire for a relatively guilt-free delight. 

For marshmallow lovers, the choice driver veers toward the art of presentation—captivating packaging that promises a whimsical and joyful experience with each bite. 

Lastly, candies stand as a testament to the power of trust and familiarity. What drives Italians to buy candy is their knowledge of the brand and its competence in the sector.


Product categories by drivers of impulsive purchase

Festive Associations 

To add some seasonal context to our findings, we asked participants to associate each category of impulsive sweets with specific holidays. Here’s what they told us: 

  • Nougat is often linked to Christmas, likely due to its traditional and comforting qualities. 
  • Candies, licorice, and marshmallows find their spotlight during festivities like Carnival and Halloween, aligning with the fun and celebratory nature of these events. 
  • Chocolates, pralines, and chocolate bars shine on occasions of love and appreciation, making them popular choices for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s and Father’s day. 


Product categories associated with each holiday


Favorite Sweet Brands for Impulse Buying 

As we consider our favorite brands for impulsive sweet purchases, Kinder (43%), Nutella (39%), Lindt (38%), and Ferrero Rocher (36%) emerge as the top contenders. What’s the secret sauce behind their popularity? 

Just like the rest of all 10 favorite brands, they share common features: pocket-sized packaging that makes them ideal choices for those spontaneous moments of indulgence. The convenience of quick, delightful transgressions, combined with the irresistible allure of chocolate, makes them perennial favorites. 

Our journey through the world of impulsive candy choices has been a whirlwind of flavors, preferences, and delight. It’s a reminder that the world of sweets isn’t just about indulgence—it’s a reflection of our evolving tastes, our cultural celebrations, and our cravings for the perfect blend of taste and value. During Halloween, it’s the perfect time to indulge your sweet tooth and savor those moments of joy.