Candle, fragrance, diffusers and wax melt sales increased significantly in 2020 and became part of the self-care consumers strived to maintain during the pandemic. For 2022, that trend remains strong. We reached out to several makers and the National Candle Association (NCA) to learn more about the trends.
Wellness is the primary trend for 2022, according to NCA. “Creating spaces that enhance mood and productivity, that can transition from office by day to home at night via the ritual of candles,” Kathy LaVanier, association executive officer for the NCA and CEO for Renegade Candle Company, explained. “Fragrances that are clean and fresh will continue to be strong along with essential oils. Newness will drive sales as consumers are eager for the next experience. Colors will be cheerful, following the trends predicted by Pantone.”
Candle purchases transitioned to the Internet in 2020 and 2021 and “consumers became more and more willing to try products based on pictures and scent descriptions, the choices became nearly endless,” according to the NCA. Retailers leveraged the online selling experience in a few ways — by adding movies and music — all which expressed the vibe of the candle, including its color, aesthetic appeal, scent and more, noted LaVanier.
“Brick-and-mortar stores can learn from that and create in-store displays that feature color and sound to tell the story of the featured candle product, along with offering plenty of newness that speaks to wellness and escape,” she shared.
Storytelling is “the true driver” for sales in this category. Shoppers want to purchase an experience, and LaVanier emphasized the importance of telling a story through the use of color, words, sound and when possible through video.
Candle ingredients can also leverage consumer trends. Brands that appeal to renewable resources, naturally derived fragrance oils and provide recycled packaging components have an appealing story that consumers seek. Ingredients aren’t the only thing important to shoppers — aesthetics also impact purchasing decisions.
“Seasonal candles are great for mantle-scapes, table décor, party favors, and so much more,” said Lauren Aerni, brand manager for Flatyz. She explained that shoppers seek fun, new and exciting options.
“There is definitely going to be a shift from heavy neutrals to adding more pops of color and brightness into our lives. The flicker of a beautiful candle when reading a book or taking a bath can help serve a function to your well-being,” Aerni shared.
Deron Blevins, co-owner of Shining Sol Candle Company, shared that companies are seeking to “set themselves apart with even more unique vessels and labeling,” and that frosted vessels are on the uptick.
Although cotton and paper are still the most popular option, NCA noted a movement towards the use of multiple wicks, which assist in spreading aromas, as the wax pool depth and width influences how a scent is released — the larger and deeper the pool of hot wax, the more scent is released, LaVanier explained.
Wooden wicks and flameless technologies are also popular. Remote control and even timer options for flameless candles appeal to shoppers who value safety and ease-of-use.
Consumers want both candles and diffusers; candles offer an experience and a decorative interest that when paired with the use of diffusers can create a complementing effect according to NCA.
“Modern and contemporary is the overall trend in terms of designs — spa inspired clean with accents for the mid- to high- segment,” Michael Jeansson, general manager for Serene USA, said.
Shining Sol Candle Company noted that warmers and diffusers are on the upward trend and that there are “unique designs emerging within that space.”
Essential Oils & Scents
Essential oils disseminate aromatic delights and offer some retail |benefits. NCA shared that the aromatherapy effect can assist with marketing merchandise and as a result the popularity of essential oils is “booming.”
Popular scents emerging include lavender, eucalyptus and peppermint. “I also think that all natural fragrances will emerge to give a broader aroma profile than only essential oils,” Jeansson shared.
Stonewall Kitchen shared that “wax melts are increasingly becoming a go-to option for flamless fragrances,” as the scents can be released into the air without the use of a wick or flame. Wax melts are popular because they offer flexibility. “You are able to switch fragrances more easily. Plus, you can customize your experience by combining fragrances in the warmer,” Jacob Ouellette, social and media relations specialist for Stonewall Kitchen Family of Brands said. Popular scents such as Balsam Fir, Mulled Cider, Crisp Apple, Orange Cinnamon, Warm Apple Pie, Clementine Evergreen and Spiced Pumpkin are often the most sought after Ouellette said.
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