Shedding Light on the Latest Candle Trends

Few things rival a candle’s ability to create a memorable, personal, and relaxing environment. That’s why it’s no surprise that more than 80 percent of U.S. consumers scent their homes, according to the NPD Group, a global information company.

As consumer preferences shift, the candle industry is constantly evolving in response to these changes. Last month, the National Candle Association hosted its annual Conference and Expo, one of the largest tradeshows for candle makers and suppliers in the country. Check out some of the top trends from this year’s Expo to keep an eye out for as you browse the shelves:

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Personalized Touches

As individuals with a unique set of preferences and needs, consumers love the ability to customize their products. Brands such as Yankee Candle offer customers the freedom to select their own fragrance, and add a personal touch like a photo or quote to the container. This is a popular option for graduations, birthdays, or weddings – adding an extra thoughtful touch to an already popular gifting item.


E-Commerce Offerings Expand

Online shopping has taken precedence over brick and mortar retail in a majority of industries, with candles being one of the few exceptions. Since fragrance is a top factor in consumers’ decision to purchase specific candles, most shoppers prefer to sniff before they buy.

However, candle brands are innovating to use e-commerce to match products to each customer’s preferences and purchase history. Companies like Luxillume also sell “sample-sized” 4-ounce tin candles in a variety of bundles like “Masculine” or “Fruity Fun,” that allow customers to test drive scents before purchasing

Popular subscription boxes offer monthly indulgences of everything from beauty products to books to dog toys, and candles are a perfect addition to this category.  There has been an onslaught of companies offering curated monthly deliveries of candles, with many putting their unique spin on the concept. These include exclusively American-made candles, or themed services that celebrate your favorite movie or TV show.

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The Rise of Wooden Wicks

When it comes to the next big thing in the wick world, wooden wicks are having their moment. Wooden wicks are desirable because they create a uniquely visual and audible experience. As a candle burns, it gives off a soothing, soft crackling sound reminiscent of a fireplace. Wooden wicks also provide a modern, flat horizontal flame and do not ‘mushroom’ or produce excessive carbon. Unlike traditional cotton wicks, wooden wicks are offered in a variety of colors, or printed designs.

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Unexpected Scents and Nostalgic Connections

There has been a major trend toward the scents that we all know and love, but may not typically associate with candles. (Until now!) Surprising fragrances such as tomato, Jim Beam Bourbon, tobacco cedar, and leather have all risen in popularity – especially as more men become candle buyers and prefer more masculine scents.

Fragrance is particularly powerful due to its ability to evoke memory. Candle companies are capitalizing on this value, by giving candles descriptive names like Summer Camp or Friday Night Football that further induce nostalgia by allowing the consumer to reflect on past experiences.

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Unique Vessels

Following fragrance, a candle’s container is one of its top selling points. Companies like the Himalayan Trading Post have experimented with using reusable vessels such as wooden serving trays and galvanized iron pots that extend the life of a candle well after it is burned. Materials like concrete, metals, and even tree bark also appeal to consumers looking for candles that complement their home’s décor.