What Do Americans and Spongebob Have in Common?

A love for their loyal friend, chocolate, of course.

(obtained from http://giphy.com/gifs/spongebob-squarepants-tongue-chocolate-z6SINjHswPVwQ)

What gets the American market just as excited as Spongebob seems to be? You guessed it. That savory goodness that we can never seem to ignore every time we approach a checkout line.

According to IBISWorld’s industry report on Chocolate Stores in the U.S. from June 2016, chocolate stores alone generate $1.5 billion in revenue annually. That does not include chocolate sales outside of specialized stores…that’s crazy! Needless to say, the American market has quite the sweet tooth, and the store format is remaining profitable with 1.9% annual growth since 2011.

The report indicates that the top three players in the market are See’s Candies, Godiva, and Lindt & Sprungli (better known for their Lindt brand). All of these companies have retail locations internationally.

See’s Candies, Godiva, and LIndt & Sprungli hold the top three positions for major players in the U.S. Chocolate Stores market (June 2016).

To analyze the social media footprint of brands in the U.S. chocolate stores market, let’s compare Godiva, the middle man, to See’s Candies and Lindt & Sprungli, who possess higher and lower market shares respectively.

Godiva’s largest following exists on their Facebook platform, with 557K likes, followed by Instagram (178K followers) and Twitter (46K followers). The brand provides links on their website to connect consumers directly to these platforms, as well as to their YouTube channel, Google Plus, and Pinterest account.

See’s Candies trumps Godiva in Facebook, with 998K likes, but falls short on their Instagram and Twitter platforms with 23K and 4,500 followers. This is shocking that the Facebook following of See’s is nearly double that of Godiva, but their Instagram and Twitter handles don’t even compare. See’s Candies represents 13% higher market share than Godiva, making me believe that social media engagement may not be as big of a driver in the Chocolate Store market as it is in other industries. Do Lindt & Sprungli’s numbers tell the same story? Let’s find out.

You guys ready for this one?…Lindt’s Facebook has 1.5 million likes! How do they have such significantly higher Facebook engagement than the two bigger market players? The brand obviously has great awareness in the market, both nationally and internationally. When it comes to harnessing the U.S. sale, something is drawing the consumer away and toward See’s or Godiva instead. Their 65K Instagram followers beat out the #1 market player, See’s, and their 52K Twitter followers beat both #1 See’s and #2 Godiva.

Unfortunately for the social media and digital marketing guru’s out there, having the highest shear number of follows and engagements on your social media platforms will not directly translate into higher market shares than your competition…sigh.

Just like anything else in the world of business, and especially retail, the contributing factors to profitability are endless. Stay tuned this semester as our GLM class launches a Holiday 2016 social media campaign for Godiva. We might even offer tips throughout the process on how brands can break through the social media noise and turn more of their engagement into relevant business growth. That is our goal to accomplish for Godiva.

But for now, go grab yourself a chocolate treat…or two (I know you’ve been thinking about it ever since you began reading).

(obtained from http://giphy.com/gifs/maudit-i-love-lucy-lucille-ball-tSX7koaG6lPy)

This post was created as part of the Global Luxury Management Program at the NC State Poole School of Management. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

#Luxemarketing #NCStateGLM #luxury #chocolate #godiva #socialmedia