Candles are common household items. Millennia ago, they were one of the only few sources of indoor illumination. However, things changed drastically with the discovery of electricity and the invention of the electric light bulb in the 1800s. However, this sudden shift in the need for candles has not rendered them extinct. Rather than going into extinction, candles have instead chosen to change their original roles in society and the world at large. Basically, they began to fulfill other needs asides indoor illumination, and so, we still have a considerable global candle industry. But just how big is this industry?
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CANDLES
Although, nobody knows exactly when candles were first made, many researchers agree that the first invention of the earliest forms of candles took place several thousands of years ago. Many of these earliest forms of candles were created from fat gotten from the carcasses of slaughtered animals such as cattle and other livestock. Even whales and other aquatic mammals were used in some parts of the world during that period – and even now – to provide animal fat which would then be boiled down to make candle wax. Candle wick during that era were usually fibers and other materials derived from plants and nowadays, one of the most commonly used materials used in the production of candle wicks is cotton (most of which have been treated and cored prior to insertion into the melted candle wax, during the candle-making process, for usage as wicks).
Nowadays, also, the most common material used in making candle wax is no longer tallow but wax gotten from a petroleum product known as paraffin. Paraffin wax was first invented and modified during the mid 1800s and its introduction into the candle industry was a game changer. This is because prior to the invention of paraffin wax candles, the candle industry had been dominated majorly by candles made from animal fat or tallow, which were a tad expensive and required more time to make. As a matter of fact, candle-makers (or chandlers) of that period used to make their living by going from household to household, making use of the fat or tallow which had been set aside in the kitchens in order to make candles for a fee. But the advent of paraffin wax meant that candles could now be easily produced en masse in factories; thus gradually driving the renowned occupation of candle-making towards decline.
HOW BIG IS THE CANDLE INDUSTRY?
Today, however, candles and the art of candle-making have bounced back with a bang, even though commercial popularity never actually waned completely; despite the drastic effect which the invention of the electric light bulb had on the candle making industry in the late 1800s. According to Verified Market Research, in the year 2020, the global candle market size was valued at USD 7.15 billion and is projected to reach USD 13.38 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 8.2% from 2021 to 2028.
While we may no longer depend heavily on candles for indoor illumination as a species, particularly in developed countries and parts of the world, it would appear that the global sales of candles is doing just fine on its own. This is because over the decades, candles have adapted their purpose to fit in with societies needs and so they have found massive applications in the world of aesthetics and aromatherapy. Not only did candles continue to persist, they managed to pull off the amazing task of moving with the tides.
Notable components of this tremendously huge candle industry include items such as: scented candles, unscented candles, paraffin wax candles, colored candles, uncolored candles and other such categories which tend to be interrelated (for instance, some paraffin wax candles may both colored and scented and, as such, they constitute their own category).
Scented candles are candles that emit perfumes and fragrances while they are burning (and even before their wicks are lit, but to a lesser extent). This is because during the process of making this kind of candles, perfumes and fragrances are added to the melted candle wax; usually in the form of oils and extracts from plants. Scented candles come in a variety of aromas, scents or perfumes depending on the type of plant the scents are derived from. The most common scents include: lavender, roses, vanilla, citrus and coconut among others.
Due to the fact that the perfumes and fragrances which are usually used in making scented candles are mostly natural and derived from plants, they (scented candles) are widely used in aromatherapy for the purpose of aiding meditation, relaxation and stress relief. Aromatherapy is a field that makes use of scents and fragrances derived from natural plants extracts and oils in order to assist people during meditation and relaxation, and due to the nature of scented candles (particularly their ability to emit desirable scents, perfumes and fragrances when they are lit and burning), they are usually used in this field of therapy.
Many researchers and market surveyors have claimed that the scent of candles influences the willingness of people to purchase them. And that, the most ardent candle buyers tend to favor scented candles a lot more than the unscented variety. Scented candles make up a sizable part of the global candle market and, based on research conducted by grandviewresearch.com, the global market size for scented candles was estimated at USD 533.5 million in 2020 and was predicted to reach USD 543.6 million in 2021.
Unscented candles are the variety of candles that have no scent in form of added fragrances and perfumes, which may be emitted when they are lit and burned. Earlier, we stated that the total market size of candles in 2020 – as obtained by Verified Market Research – is estimated to be around USD 7.15 billion; however, in the same year, grandviewresearch.com estimated that the market size for scented candles was at USD 533.5 million. What this possibly means is that while many people tend to consider scents before purchasing candles, the largest percentage of candles which are sold around the world globally are of the unscented variety.