Everybody knows conversation hearts — those tiny and colorful message-covered candies that people seem to either love or hate. But as the candy corn of the winter season, these polarizing indulgences have certainly earned themselves a reputation worth conversing about. In fact, experts estimate that more than 8 billion conversation hearts will be sold throughout this Valentine’s Day season.
But that’s not all. Americans are also expected to spend about $1.7 billion on Valentine’s candy, and this year, conversation hearts may very well be dominating the Valentine’s candy conversation.
“There are choices to be made and people who study such things say that, nationally, conversation hearts last year pulled ahead of the traditional heart-shaped boxes of chocolate candy in total sales. Conversation hearts are those small, pastel hearts that say “Be Mine” or, more enigmatically, “Dare Ya.” These days they are as apt to say “Tweet Me” or “Text Me,” writes Matt Campbell on The Kansas City Star.
But this trend isn’t nationally unanimous; it largely depends on which state you’re in. Of all states, Missouri seems to have the most love for conversations hearts. Other states, such as Iowa, have a preference for chocolate candies like M and M’s. Alabama, surprisingly, favors the cousins of conversation hearts — candy necklaces.
These findings aren’t based on a random survey, either. They’re based on 10 full years of specific candy sales data from CandyStore.com, which even has an interactive map in place to browse other states’ first, second, and third favorite V-day candies.
According to a 2014 Mass Merchant Study, 16% of unplanned purchases were due to a display noticed while shopping. But during the insatiable Valentine’s Day rush, the candy aisle practically empties itself — especially those tiny yet ever-so-sweet conversation hearts.
Clair Robins from the CandyStore blog says it best:
“There’s a new king in town, and it doesn’t come in a heart-shaped box.”