business

How Wrigley's Managed to Dominate the Chewing Gum World Despite Nearly a Decade of Declining Public Interest

Charles Rex Arbogast

Gum lines the pockets of most Americans and has been a staple in American culture for centuries.

For some, gum is all about flavor, and for others, it's about fear of bad breath, curbing hunger, or alleviating anxiety. For nearly 130 years, the brand Wrigley's has become synonymous with chewing gum. Since its start, the gum maker has dominated the chewing gum market, spawning brands from Juicy Fruit to Orbit to 5 Gum.

But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the William Wriglely Jr. Co.; over its storied past, the brand has faced turbulent years. Since the early 2000s, the chewing gum market has seen a decline in public sentiment, which hurt significant players. In 2006, the company ended its long-standing tradition of being a family run business with William Wrigley Jr. stepping down as CEO. By 2008, Wrigley's faced increasing global competition and was acquired by Mars along with Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

According to Euromonitor International, the gum industry's market value hit $18.6 billion in 2020. Since 2015, Mars Wrigley has held 25% of the global brand share for chewing gum and a 40% portion in the U.S. The Covid-19 pandemic since it began in March 2020 has negatively impacted gum's most prominent players and could negatively affect Mars Wrigley gum brands' future.

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