Cadbury, Nestlé and Mars continue to be the dominant brands in the confectionery category, but this year marks a distinct change in promotional spend.

In 2007, it was Mars that took the lead, with 32% of activity, but Nestlé, in third place, was still only five percentage points behind. By contrast, in 2008, Mars' share of spend has fallen back to 17%, while Nestlé is now leading promotional spend with 37%, up 10 percentage points year-on-year.

A look at weekend spend, however, shows Cadbury taking a 1o percentage point lead with 38% of featured space.

Cadbury used the x-for-y and save mechanics and was on promotion in all five retailers with its chocolate bars and Easter egg ranges.

Nestle was in second place with 28% of featured space. This is down somewhat on its year-to-date average. But, once again, despite Easter being some way off, Easter eggs have helped Nestlé maintain a prominent position in the top five. Preferred mechanics were x-for-y and save on secondary space, with only Somerfield not allocating any secondary space to Nestlé products.

Mars accounted for 16% of activity - roughly in line with this year's spend to date - in the top five chart and was promoted in three of the five retailers using a combination of x-for-y, extra-free and save.

Multipacks were the primary focus of Mars' offers with Easter Eggs also on offer in two of the retailers.

Offers on Terry's All Gold and Toblerone led Kraft to fourth place with 12% of activity.

All five retailers allocated promotional space to Kraft, but with less space overall than the top three brands. The most favoured mechanic was save with only Somerfield also using half-price.

Golden Bunnies were featured in Tesco and Morrisons, using the x-for-y mechanic, and Lindt Lindor was also available in Morrisons, allowing Lindt to secure fifth place with 6%.