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Top-selling Valentine’s Day candies by state revealed

New Jersey favors M&Ms, followed by Heart-Shaped Box of Chocolates and Conversation Hearts

NEW JERSEY – Americans are getting sweeter than ever this Valentine’s Day.

Last year, Covid-19 struck Valentine’s Day hard, according to the National Retail Federation. Spending was down more than 20% from the previous year’s all-time high. People were struggling and there was a once in a lifetime worldwide pandemic. It was understandable.

This year, things are picking back up. The NRF is expecting a near-record breaking year with consumer spending for Valentine’s Day up nearly 10% and reaching $23.9B.

The number of people buying candy is expected to be at a new record high with 56% of consumers planning to buy candy for Valentine’s Day. Expected candy sales volume is also up and at $2.2B would be runner up only to 2020 ($2.4B).

Using sales data from the past 14 years from our online bulk candy store and industry partners, compiled sales data to determine the most popular Valentine’s Day candy. In the interactive map above, you can hover over a state and see which Valentine’s Day candy they favor – interactive mode not viewable on mobile phones.


Here are some of the key takeaways from their data.

Conversation Hearts Are Back

Conversation Hearts Top Valentines Candy in 2018

It was a rough couple years for Sweethearts conversation hearts candy. After Necco got ripped apart and its brands sent off to various bidders, Sweethearts’ new owner took more time than anticipated to get their feet under them. In fact, Sweethearts weren’t available in 2019 at all. As the most popular brand of conversation hearts (Brach’s makes them as well), the sales of conversation hearts overall were down over 24%.

In 2020, they were back but only a limited supply was available. As new owner Spangler hurried to get them out, they ran into some printing issues and the cute little sayings written on them were distorted and blurred. Quite a few of them were blank – no words at all.

Last year was the breakthrough. With Spangler introducing all new sayings on Sweethearts, conversation hearts made a heroic comeback in 2021. Finally overtaking their arch-nemesis Heart-Shaped Boxes of Chocolates.

M&M’s keeps moving up

M&M’s continue to gain traction. They made gains in several states throughout the country, landing a new #1 spots in Vermont.

Since introducing the Cupid’s Message M&M’s in 2017, we’ve seen a rise in M&M’s sales for Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s Mix of Valentine’s Day colored M&M’s has also been very popular. The re-introduction of White Cheesecake M&M’s helped boost them as well.

Cupid Corn Resurgence?

Just when we thought they were fading away, cupid corn made a comeback last year. It even claimed a new #1 state in Nebraska. Also up one spot to #2 in Michigan after falling to third place the prior year.

Valentine’s Day Candy Quick Facts

  • 47% of people said they will buy themselves a box of chocolates this year.
  • 58 million pounds of chocolate are bought during Valentine’s Day week.
  • The peak selling period for conversation hearts is only 6 weeks long.
  • It takes manufacturers 11 months to produce enough for those 6 weeks.
  • Vodka infused with candy remained popular with conversation hearts last year.
  • Children receive 39 percent of all Valentine’s Day candy and gifts.

Here is a table with each state’s winners:

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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