Global ice cream market size 2013-2024

The global ice cream market was worth 57 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 and is expected to grow to nearly 75 billion by 2024. This represents an over 30 percent increase in market size over the period. Unilever was the market leader in ice cream manufacturing worldwide.

Ice cream’s history

In the 12th century, Marco Polo returned to Italy from his travels to Asia with a recipe that was akin to the modern sherbet. Historians claim that this recipe developed into ice cream during the 16th century. “Cream ice” was known to be a favorite dessert of Charles I during the 17th century. A similar dessert was introduced to France by Catherine de Medici when she married Henry II. Ice cream was first made available to the public around 1660. In the United States, the earliest account of ice cream came from a letter in 1744, and the dessert was first advertised in the New York Gazette in 1777. Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were also known to be avid fans of the rare and exotic dessert. In 1851, Jacob Fussell, a milk dealer from Baltimore, began manufacturing ice cream.

America’s favorite brands

In the United States, Breyer’s and Ben & Jerry’s had the highest sales of all ice cream brands. Both brands are owned by Unilever. A recent survey on consumers’ preferred ice cream brands backed up these sales figures, as nearly half of respondents stated that they regularly purchased Breyer’s ice cream.

Size of the global ice cream market from 2013 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)*

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Release date

August 2017



Survey time period

2013 to 2024

Supplementary notes

* Trefis estimates.
** Trefis forecast.
The market size is based on the dollar value of sales of ice-creams in form of cones, candies, cups and other larger packages, measured at the manufacturers' selling price (i.e. the price at which a manufacturer like Unilever sells to the distributors).

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