Consumers’ Favorite Valentine’s Candies

candy hearts

What’s wrong with this picture: Unless found in limited supply online, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts are missing in action at retail during the Valentine’s 2019 season. It’s a dramatic loss, as the brand happens to be the top Valentine's choice across more than 20 U.S. states.

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts—miniature hearts with cute sayings on them—were the most popular option for Valentine’s in 2018, according to Los Angeles-based online marketer and candy-trend tracker CandyStore.com.

Sweethearts was poised to regain the mantle in 2019, but the brand is on a one-year Valentine’s hiatus, providing other popular options a chance to assume the crown.

Sweethearts, a longtime brand under New England Confectionery Co. (Necco), saw its fortunes change when Necco was sold in 2018. Its factory was shuttered last summer, and Necco was eventually acquired at auction by Round Hill Investments, which sold the Sweethearts brand to Spangler Candy Co. last fall.

In a statement, Kirk Vashaw, CEO of Spangler Candy, said, “We are looking forward to announcing the relaunch of Sweethearts for the 2020 Valentine’s Day season.”

CandyStore.com estimates that holiday sales will generate more than $1.8 billion this year. Using sales data from the past 11 seasons from its online bulk candy store and industry partners, CandyStore.com compiled sales data to determine the most popular Valentine’s candy.

Read on for a state-by-state breakout of the most popular options, along with one potential alternative that could keep the "conversation" going.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts

candy hearts

Sweethearts Conversation Hearts will be sorely missed in 2019, giving retailers some merchandising decisions to make. The message candy was a consumer favorite in 22 states in 2018: Hawaii, California, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, Arizona, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, South Carolina and Vermont.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Brach’s Tiny Conversation Hearts

brachs tiny conversation hearts

Brach’s Tiny Conversation Hearts from Ferrara Candy Co., Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., are an obvious alternative to Sweethearts. Brach’s heart candies are embossed with flirtatious phrases printed on each piece with flavors that include lemon, banana, cherry, grape, orange and wintergreen.

Photograph courtesy of Ferrara Candy Co.

Heart-Shaped Boxes

happy valentines day chocolate box

Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate in any brand ranked as the second most popular Valentine’s option in 2018, according to Candystore.com. Heart-shaped boxes got love from consumers in 13 states: Washington, Nevada, Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, North Carolina, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Alaska.

Photograph: Shutterstock

M&M’s

 i love you m&ms

M&M’s from Mars Wrigley Confectionery were most popular in Idaho, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Maryland. It “cracked more top three spots in 2018 than the previous year,” according to CandyStore.com. Since introducing Cupid’s Message M&M’s in 2017, CandyStore.com witnessed a rise in M&M’s sales for Valentine’s Day. The online marketer speculated that perhaps the limited reintroduction of White Cheesecake M&M’s will help boost M&M’s even higher for the 2019 season.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Hershey’s Kisses

hershey kisses milk chocolate heart box

Hershey’s Kisses were favorites in Utah, South Dakota, Arkansas and Delaware. The brand has a chance to double down on the proposition by offering its own version of the popular heart-shaped box filled with Kisses in the form of Valentine Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates.

Photograph courtesy of the Hershey Co.

Chocolate Hearts

chocolate heart

Chocolate hearts are most popular in Nebraska, Maine and Rhode Island.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Chocolate Roses

chocolate rose bouqet

Chocolate roses are tops with residents of Oregon (whose largest city, Portland, is known as the City of Roses), New Mexico and Wyoming.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Candy Necklaces

candy necklace

And candy necklaces lead the pack in one state: Alabama.

Photograph: Shutterstock