The reign of candles began thousands of years ago, when the humans who lived in ancient times created the earliest forms of candles from boiled down tallow or fat obtained from the carcasses of slaughtered cattle (and other livestock); and this long regime lasted almost unparalleled until the 1800s, when the electric light bulb was invented. Afterwards, there was a noticeable decline in the sales of candles. However, recent decades have seen a rise in the demand for candles. And now, many people wonder how many candles are bought per year.



Candles have been around for a long time. For millennia, they have abided on this planet, still remaining relevant despite the challenges that have befallen their dynamic industry over the course of thousands of years. They have witnessed the rise and fall of several empires, and a million secrets and in their own way, they too have evolved. This evolution of candles becomes even more apparent when you consider things from the perspective of needs. Thousands of years ago, candles were needed for pretty much a handful of things, the greatest of which was portable indoor illumination. Of course, as time progressed – even in those ancient times – society, culture, tradition and religion also laid claim to candles in the course of their own rites. However, nowadays, candles don’t only depict either of these things and this is because pop culture has also stepped into the candle scene. And so, the depictions of candles on birthday cakes are forever etched in our minds, along with the sight of lovers holding hands across an intimate table for two, lit gently by candlelight, the feeling of deep relaxation provoked by the imagery of a person soaking up in a bathtub filled with bubbles, and surrounded by jars of ignited scented candles. Over the course of thousands of years, the need for candles has morphed and restructured itself in such a way that candles will always remain relevant as long as humanity exists and civilization still continues and this is why, despite the invention of the electric light bulb in the 1800s, the demand for candles has continued to soar in recent decades. The demand for candles is a unique thing because people use them all over the globe, even though candles cannot actually be termed as essential items.



Many people who have noticed the unique demand trend for candles often begin to find an interest in many aspects of candle-making and candle trading. However, one of the first (out of the many) questions they ask themselves is this: “How many candles are bought per year?” The simple answer is hundreds of millions, if not billions. The candle industry in the United States of America alone is responsible for the sales (and purchase) of about $3.14 billion worth of candles, according to the National Candle Association (based on data gotten from Mintel, 2013). In recent years, that figure has risen and not even the occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic was about to put a substantial dent in the sales of candles. This only goes to show how far candles have evolved in terms of the kind of needs they meet.

There are many factors that determine how many candles are sold globally, and what types of sell faster (or more) compared to others. Some of those factors include the following:

  • Gender

Studies have shown that women buy more candles compared to men, and that they are also more likely to become regular buyers of candles compared to men. Therefore, countries with higher percentage of the female population may have the tendency to purchase a lot more candles than countries with higher population of men. Many studies are yet to be carried out among the trans-community.

  • Age

Studies have shown that a lot of people in their twenties, thirties and forties tend to purchase a lot more candles compared to people in their teens, fifties, sixties and above. No actual reason has been assigned for this discovery other than the fact that people in their twenties, thirties and forties may be a lot more inclined to spend money on pampering themselves and self-care compared to those in their sixties and above. However, this is merely a speculation which may not apply to everybody.

  • Scent

Scent is one factor that plays an important role in the selection of candles in stores and markets across the globe. Many people only buy candles because of their scent, particularly in developed parts of the world where there is very little risk of power outage. As a matter of fact, information made public by the National Candle Association (NCA) states that about two-thirds of people consider scent before buying a candle. One of the reasons for this is that scented candles emit fragrances or perfumes when burned, and this makes them one of the crucial tools used in aromatherapy, for aiding relaxation and relieving stress. There are different kinds of scented candles, based on the kind of fragrances or scents they emit when burned. They include; citrus-scented candles, lavender-scented candles, vanilla-scented candles, coconut-scented candles, mango-scented candles and so on.

  • The level of development of the country

This factor is a slightly complicated one in the sense that countries with low level of technology, who tend to experience power outages and erratic electricity supply, tend to exhibit substantial sales of candles. However, this is usually in terms of sheer quantity and not always sales. This is because large quantities of cheaper varieties of candles are usually bought in such countries. On the other hand, countries that experience higher level of technology tend to purchase lower quantities of candles (in some cases) however, they also tend to pull in a lot more in terms of income; since they usually purchase candles of the more expensive variety. Due to this complex reason, scented candles tend to be more popular in countries with high level of technology than in countries with low level of technology; because they tend to be more expensive than regular candles.

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