Fall 2019
Candle Trends – Global Influence By Debbie Eisele

Candle and fragrance trends reflect a seasonal and savory perspective

Invoking a range of moods, the popular fragrances trending into 2020 are sure to attract candle shoppers with intoxicating scents from around the world. According to the National Candle Association (NCA), fragrance is the number one reason people burn candles.

WARMGLOW Candle Co. 5-Wick Loaf Candle
The 5-Wick Loaf from Warm Glow Candle Company features their signature lumpy, bumpy exterior and is offered in 10 delicious fragrances.

“When shopping for candles, scent is also the most important attribute dictating purchasing behavior, even more important than price,” said Kathy LaVanier, president of NCA.

Monica Aneiros-Burke, senior perfumer with Arylessence and NCA member, said global influences in the American market are hot. “Latin American fragrance companies showcase notes inherent to their countries, like guava, lime, and cactus flower,” she said. 

Also, peppers and pink peppercorn aromas are attracting consumers. “They bring a new savory perspective to traditional spice directions that will persist well into 2020. Also important are both cannabis and amber accords,” shared Aneiros-Burke.

Votivo Venetian Leather Reed Diffuser
Trends in botanicals and natural elements are popular, especially aromas that incorporate multiple fragrances that blend into a freshness shoppers enjoy. Venetian Leather Reed Diffuser by Votivo captures the essence of saffron, suede and sandalwood.

The Grace Management Group, which includes brands Bridgewater Candle Company, Greenleaf and Votivo, shared details about their fragrances and said food-inspired scents and renewed classic floral scents are both strong trends. Also important to note, their fragrance launches will seek to evoke a range of moods. “Nature-inspired scents, such as herbs and botanicals, continue to gain attention across the wellness category,” their fragrance team said.

Bridgewater Autumn Stroll Reed Diffuser
Use reed sticks to help bring nature-
inspired aromas throughout the home. The Autumn Stroll collection by Bridgewater
Candle Company is an example of fresh outdoor smells trending in this category.

Dan DeLeon, navigator for mixture, said 2020 scents reflect freshness. “Proseccos, salt, sage and black pepper are fresh. They are not typical; instead unique and complex, making them more interesting,” he said. “Floral scents remain an olfactory delight, but will be subtle, not overwhelming.”

Candleberry Large Jar Bourbon Mason Jar cake scented candle
Delightful kitchen smells are captured in this Bourbon Mason Jar Cake candle by Candleberry Company.

Echoing the prominent role of food in fragrance, Lisa Clark, creative director for Candleberry, mentioned enticing kitchen related aromas are influencing product lines that will provide four-season enjoyment. She mentioned product lines such as Bourbon Mason Jar Cake, Vanilla Avalanche, and Honey Pecan Rum Cake by Candleberry are examples of products that please customers with delightful aromas.

Michael Jeansson, general manager at Serene House, emphasized the importance of longer-lasting fragrances. “Keeping an even scent profile, with no peaks, so a fragrance can be enjoyed is popular,” Jeansson shared. “There is a freshness in these options, where essential oils and fragrances blended together offer an expanded aroma palette to consumers.” 

Serene House Flare Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser
Flare Ultrasonic Aromatherapy Diffuser by Serene House offers a trendy amber glass cover to showcase favorite seasonal fragrances.

This is a more European style approach that has a trend-setting future, along with products that tell a story. “A story behind an aroma is popular; not just therapeutic,” he emphasized. “Names such as Floating Transparently, Marquise Farewell, and Giselle — a ballet and opera — appeal to consumers.” 

Masculine scents are trending upwards, according to David J. Baraky, vice president of marketing and design, MVP Group International, Inc. He noted its Oak Room Collection features “sophisticated fragrances with a touch of masculine charm in matte black jars” and is very popular. He mentioned key take-aways for 2020 fragrances are to make an emotional connection and consider every type of customer.

Seasonal Offerings 

Aneiros-Burke emphasized seasonality impacts consumers’ moods; key scents evoke a connection. “In spring, tuberose will bring sensuality and intoxicating sweetness to floral compositions, while raw, earthy green notes add a sense of naturalness to green florals, tomato vine, green pepper, and cucumber,” she said. 

Mixture USA Holiday Candle Collection
Mixture offers seasonal collections to inspire a variety of options.

Classic blackberry along with pumpkins and other bakery-scented offerings will be popular for fall offerings, while mint and global cuisine scents are ideal for winter. For spring and summer, she said tropical influences such as dragon fruit, yuzu and lychee are trending. 

The Grace Management Group explained fresh florals capture the essence of spring and summer, along with mood-enhancing aromas. The outdoors are reflected in the fragrances, along with herbal notes to provide year-long interest.

Showcasing Fragrances

Remember to delight, not overwhelm customers with fragrance options; it’s just as important as highlighting the scents themselves. “One way to prevent scent fatigue is to keep testers under glass cloche domes,” shared the Grace Management Group. “We also recommend burning only one scent in the store at a time.” 

Wax Apothecary Pure Rose wax melts
Wax Apothecary’s Pure Rose wax melts are an example of how retailers can showcase scents that set the mood.

Retailers should also consider the shelf-life of products. Grace Management’s tip: Reserve products and limit the number of fragrances on the floor by storing inventory in a cool, dark location. 

Serene House has the same challenges in its showroom that retailers face within a store environment. Jeansson suggested stores use sealed demo options or card diffusers. “Each of our units has its own scenting station and we offer those to customers so they don’t have all the options out and open; they use only one demo at a time,” he mentioned. He emphasized the importance of having only one scent featured at a time and the importance of using a tester reference for every fragrance and every delivery medium, whether it is a diffuser, reed sticks, or wax warmer.

Buying Tips

The Grace Management Group said when ordering product, include year-long best-sellers. “We also suggest carrying a seasonal offering in advance of major gifting holidays. This could be as simple as highlighting an everyday fragrance in a new way,” shared the fragrance team.

Greenleaf’s Bella Freesia Sachet image
Greenleaf’s Bella Freesia Sachet exemplifies the subtle floral fragrance on tap for 2020.

Jeansson added retailers should look at other factors as well. “For holidays, stock up on what you need, but the remainder of your inventory can be showcased year-round. The general rule is 20% fashion and 80% staples and ensure product packaging is updated and fresh,” he explained. 

Retailers with a candle focus can develop inventory levels with gift-giving in mind. NCA noted 64% of consumers give candles as a gift. When buying for the store, offer shoppers an array of fragrant options in both home and candle categories. 

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Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the former managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and a variety of special issue publications, including: The Guide, Holiday Shop, Celebrations & Occasions and Waterfront Living.

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