Almost 1m Aussies eat mints they never bought

Almost 1m Aussies eat mints they never bought

It’s the great unspoken black hole in the Australian economy. Almost a million Australians a month flippantly committing the pettiest of larcenies: eating mints they don’t buy.

Last year, 3.6m Australians aged over 14 ate mints in an average four week period, but just 2.7m of these mint-eaters bought any in the same period, the latest data from Roy Morgan Research shows.

Eclipsing the competition

On top of the 2.7 million who bought and ate mints, another 180,000 bought mints but didn’t eat any, for a total of nearly 2.9 million buyers. Eclipse Mints are the most eaten (and stolen), with 1.2m buyers in an average four-week period in 2013 and 1.4m consumers.

Out of the total, 780,000 eat Mentos Mints compared with 616,000 who buy them. Only 550,000 Australians buy mint Tic Tacs in an average four weeks, but 747,000 eat them.  

Of course, some of the gap may be due not to mints bandits, but mints misers: those who bought some mints in the past and still have a couple rolling around the glove compartment.

The market share of Eclipse Mints has grown for three consecutive years, from being the choice of 31% of Mints Buyers in 2010 to 40% in 2013. Both Mentos and Tic Tac took 23% of the Mint-buying market in 2010. Mentos is down 2% points since then; Tic Tac 4% points, dipping below Mentos only last year.

Brand loyalty

Eclipse’s dominance is most prominent among mint buyers aged 25-34, who are over three times as likely to buy Eclipse (56%) as either Mentos or Tic Tac mints (17% each). Mentos leads only among those aged over 65 while Tic Tacs appeal most to buyers under 25.

Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research says that mint buyers will often have loyalty to a particular brand and be regular consumers. 

With such patterns already developed and clear preferences across different age groups, an aim for mints marketers could be to investigate and target the million or so Australians who regularly ‘borrow’ mints from these buyers,” she said.

But the question for marketeers is how to convince the occasional mints consumers to buy a packet, tube or box of their very own?”

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