Tourists travel to London for its world-class museums, restaurants, and shopping, as well as for its American sweets. According to the market research firm GlobalWebIndex (GWI), Oxford Street is being overrun with US candy stores.
Oxford Street is home to more than 30 American sweet shops, opening in stores abandoned by more traditional retailers. One notable instance is the replacement of HMV’s former flagship store with a candy shop.
Why are American candy stores taking over Oxford?
According to GWI, the popularity can partially be explained by UK consumers’ affection for US products, as many US companies are already well-established in the country’s snacking customs. Ben & Jerry’s is the second most popular ice cream brand and Oreos are a favourite biscuit for 21% of Britons, GWI report stated.
This trend was further extended by the rise in popularity of US candy shops, which sell the sweets that British customers grew up seeing on American television. American candy’s vibrant, the cartoonish aesthetic is also well-liked on social media, with some TikTok accounts gaining hundreds of thousands of followers for their videos showcasing new items.
Savannah Scott, a creative foresight analyst at the Future Laboratory says, “Nostalgia and frivolity are dominating the food sector right now; consumers are looking for multisensory experiences that are playful and allow them to get lost in their favourite childhood treats or flavours”.
However, the prime locations of the stores and the rapid growth of the sector have prompted questions about the business model. Concerns have been raised about the health impact of the sugary products and about the legality of some of the operators.