Occasionally I see data in an old book that piques my curiosity – and next thing I know I’m searching for recent comparison data. This is one of those times. According to a hundred-year-old home economics textbook:
We are told that American spend over $200,000,000 a year for factory-made candy.
Household Arts for Home and School (Vol. II) (1920) by Anna M. Cooley and Wilhelmina H. Spohr
Which led me to wonder, how much did the average American spend on candy per year in 1920? According the 1920 U.S. Census, there were 106,000,000 people in the U.S. in 1920, so the average person spent $1.89 dollars per year on candy. According to Dave Manual’s Inflation Calculator, $1 in 1920 would be the equivalent to $12.50 today, so the average person in 1920 ate $23.65 worth of candy in today’s dollars over the course of a year.
This led to my next question, How much candy do American’s eat today? I found data for how much they spent on Halloween candy (but not for the entire year) -so the overall amount would be more. The data were for 2019, which I’m assuming is about the same as 2020.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $2.6 billion on candy or more than $25 on average.
How Much Candy Are You Buying for Halloween? This Survey Might Surprise You,” U.S.A. Today (October 5, 2019)
So the bottom line this at in Americans are spending more on candy today than they did a hundred years ago. In 1920, if the spending was adjusted for inflation, they spent an average of $23.65; today, just for Halloween, they spend more than $25.00 per year.