It’s hard to believe that as recently as the early-2000’s, candles were considered a luxury. If you wanted one of those little tins from Anthropologie, they cost you $20 and then after you tippy-toe over them, your house smells like vanilla or lavender. Nowadays it’s the other way around: burning a candle is no longer a costly novelty but rather an affordable necessity. Americans spend about $3 billion on candles annually and that number is only expected to grow going forward.
That’s why we figured now could be the perfect time to discuss what the future holds for the candle industry.
Our research indicates that people are opting for sustainable and earth-friendly candles. Besides the obvious environmental reasons (which give us good reason to burn candles), they’re also cheaper, have more health benefits, and make better aromas.
The marketing of candles in the United States is seductively straightforward. You turn on the TV and chant “the mood lifter” while a man or woman holds a flameless candle aloft for your viewing pleasure. The products are generally packaged in a small tin and cost about $5. It’s one of those things that you didn’t realize you needed until you saw it, and then you needed it. It’s the kind of thing that provides a warm feeling in your tummy while making the room smell like vanilla or lavender.
If you were to walk into Home Goods, Target or Walmart, the shelves are stocked with dozens of different scents and styles from which to choose. On the high end of the spectrum there are candles made from soy wax and most of them burn longer than paraffin candles. Paraffin candles are made from petroleum and contain more toxins. The health benefits of soy candles are numerous, so they’re becoming increasingly popular.
A company called Soil Creations has seen their sales leap from 8% in 2008 to 30% in 2010, which shows that people are getting more comfortable with the idea of buying organic products. Aside from burn time and odorless smoke, the next generation of candles will also be associated with other health benefits like better sleep. People that burn candles regularly report having better quality sleep than those that don’t.
As it is with everything else in life, the earth-friendly options come at a price. Just as the availability of electricity led to the demise of candle-making, advances in alternative lighting are now leading to a transformation in candle consumption. This is not an article that is based on tenuous speculation. It is grounded in excellent research and insightful analysis by experts who have studied these issues extensively.
It is no surprise then that while fireplaces and gas lamps are now the preferred method of lighting homes in developed countries, candles are still widely used in developing countries and holidays around the world continue to be celebrated with them. The market for candles is said to be growing at a fast pace in the coming years, however, analysts suggest new entrants and established players to plan strategies accordingly while keeping the challenges and opportunities in mind.