Candle Industry Facts

  • Candles are sold principally in three types of retail outlets: department stores; specialty (gift) shops; and mass merchandisers, including drug store chains, supermarkets, and discount stores. The U.S. market is typically separated into seasonal (Christmas/Holiday) business at roughly 35%, and non-seasonal business at about 65%.
  • Typically, a major U.S. candle manufacturer will offer 1,000 to 2,000 varieties of candles in its product line.
  • Types of candles manufactured in the U.S. include: tapers, straight-sided dinner candles, columns, pillars, votives, wax-filled containers and specialty candles. Many of these come in different sizes and fragrances, and all come in a range of colors.
  • Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households.
  • Candle shipments increase substantially during the third quarter of the year because of the seasonal nature of candle sales during the end-of-year holiday celebrations (including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa), since candles play a large role at this time of year (religious occasions, gifts and decorations).
  • Candle industry research indicates that the most important factors affecting candle sales are scent, color, cost and shape. Fragrance is by far the most important characteristic, with three-fourths of candle purchasers saying it is "extremely important" or "very important" in their selection of a candle for the home.
  • Candle manufacturers' surveys show that 96% of all candles purchased are bought by women.
  • Two-thirds of candle purchasers say they use candles once a week or more often. Women are more frequent users than men, and younger people tend to use candles more often than older adults.
  • Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%) and the bedroom (13%).
  • Consumers say they typically burn candles for just under three hours.
  • Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy.
  • Candle purchasers view candles as an appropriate gift for the holidays (76%), as a house warming gift (74%), a hostess/dinner party gift (66%), a thank you (61%) and as adult birthday gifts (58%).
  • Tea lights are the most frequently purchased type of candle, followed by votives and container candles.

© The National Candle Association (NCA)