Carving your own space in the candle industry is easy because there are so many niches, but understanding which popular types of candles and which ones sell best will help you create staple products to sustain your business and allow you to explore more creative projects.
Candles tend to be typed based on their intended use, their wax base, the container they come in, and the type of wick used. The candles that sell best are usually medium-sized soy-based candles that come in a wide-mouthed glass jar.
In this article, we will look at how candles differ depending on application and construction. We will also explore what consumers look for in a candle in terms of size, wax base, fragrance, and container type.
Types of Candles
There are many types of candles in circulation, but when you look to create a baseline of products for your business you want to start with options that are:
- Easy to work with
- Low cost
Most candles are typed based on what they are made of their intended use (to burn or purely for decoration) and how their wax is sourced.
Scented vs. Decorative Candles
Candles tend to serve one of two major functions: aromatherapy or aesthetics. They may fit into both spaces, but you are more likely to find them as one or the other.
Scented candles can be used to cover other odors or simply to invite certain aromas into the home. They may boast specific benefits for mental or physical health, or they can simply be well-crafted blends of favorite scents.
Decorative candles are less likely to be scented because they take up space as decor. Burning one of these candles is akin to setting fire to a vase.
These candles come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, and they are often more complicated than scented candles. They provide visual appeal, and may even come with accessories.
Soy candles are one of the most popular types of candles in circulation today, especially with up-and-coming candle businesses. These candles have a base of soy wax that comes from soybeans, meaning they are made of vegetables (unlike oil or paraffin-based candles).
These candles have built a reputation on:
- Cleaner burning (less soot)
- Environmental friendliness
- Longer burn times
Because soy wax is biodegradable, these are also easier to clean up in the case of accidental spills.
Paraffin Wax Candles
Paraffin wax candles remain a popular option because they are well known and cheap to make. You see these candles more often on grocery store or supermarket shelves because they are easy to mass-produce, but the quality does not make them a great choice for home-based businesses.
Paraffin wax burns hotter than other candle varieties, and it can create a larger mess if there is an accident. These candles produce more soot as they burn, so the wax dirties easily as the candle is used.
Beeswax candles are considered most often by those with allergies because they produce negative ions as they burn and are believed to clear the air of allergens like dust, pollen, and dander.
Most beeswax candles are not dyed or scented. These candles have a nice warm glow and a natural honey-like fragrance. They are also less prone to dripping because the wax has a higher melting point.
Another major trend in the candle industry is the push for Vegan candles. Certain consumers want their products to be verifiably clear of any ingredients sourced from animals, including beeswax byproducts.
These candles rely on modified formulas, but they overlap with other candle types such as soy candles and other plant-based waxes. These candles are also more likely to be fragrant and rely on natural fragrance sources.
Candles can come free of a container as long as the wax is strong enough to support them. This is more common with decorative pillar or dinner candles, and they sit nicely on candle plates, candlesticks, or candelabras.
Votive candles are often small and cylindrical or square, and the container protects the candle from drafts while protecting the environment from the open flame.
You can find a variety of containers to fit the general use of a candle, including:
- Wide mouth jar containers
- Jelly jars
- Mason jars
- Apothecary jars
- Metal tins
Candles can also come in smaller tealight varieties. These are usually small enough to burn completely in one go, and they sit in a small metal or plastic cup. They are used more often for a scattered flame effect and are often sold in bulk.
Candle wicks are another way to differentiate candles, but they have less impact on the candle’s type. The most common wicks used include:
- Flat wicks
- Square wicks
- Cored wicks
- Wooden wicks
Wooden wicks have gained popularity in recent years because of the way they cause a flame to skip and crackle, and they come in several varieties on their own.
Candles may be differentiated by the number of wicks they utilize if they are large enough to require more than one for efficient burning.
What Types of Candles Sell Best?
While it is great to explore unconventional ways of making candles, you should have a few staple varieties that you know will sell easily. These are products that you can fall back on, and they can hold your business over while you dive deeper into what sparks your passion.
Candles of medium size, usually 8 to 10 ounces, tend to sell better than other sizes.
While it is still important to offer smaller and larger sizes, they are not the most efficient products for a consumer’s usual needs.
Smaller candles (4 to 6 ounces) may be great for special occasions or samples, but they are not usually large enough to make the purchase worthwhile.
Larger candles (12 ounces or more) tend to cost much more because they require larger, sturdier containers and multiple wicks.
Recent trends show consumers favoring soy-based candles. While many are still okay with purchasing lower-quality paraffin wax candles from the store, plenty of consumers see soy-based candles as a worthwhile investment.
These candles are not much more expensive, but they have the benefits of safer burning, longer burn times, and more aesthetic varieties.
While there are thousands of fragrance varieties to explore, the most popular scents remain:
People are especially drawn to essential oil fragrances or carefully crafted blends that explain their intention. You will also see popular scents vary depending on the season, such as fruitier fragrances in the spring and warmer scents in cold weather.
Popular seasonal scents include:
- Pumpkin spice
- Sugar cookies
Because region has a major influence on fragrance popularity, looking at what scents are often sold out by fragrance oil suppliers in your region can indicate what is popular close to you. People in the country tend to have different tastes than city folks, and the West Coast is a completely different environment than the New England area.
Consumers seem to prefer wide-mouth glass containers when purchasing candles, though similar varieties like mason jars or metal tins are also popular.
The key with choosing a container that will encourage sales is to make sure it:
- Looks great
- Is not a safety hazard
- Can close easily
The last point may not be as important for smaller candle varieties, but consumers want to be able to protect their investment from dust and other contaminants when it is stored.
Why are soy candles so popular?
Soy candles are a popular option for candle makers because of recent trends toward natural products. Consumers have become increasingly aware of the carcinogens in alternatives such as paraffin wax candles, and they opt for soy candles to avoid these issues.
Are candle sales predicted to go up?
Candle sales have increased steadily through the years, and they have become so popular that some manufacturers struggle to keep up with the demand. It is estimated that the candle industry makes over $3 billion per year.
When is the best season for candle sales?
Fall is considered the best season for candle sales because this is when consumers want to indulge in seasonal scents and the atmosphere that candles put out. This is also a great time for anyone getting a head start on holiday shopping, and candles are a quick and easy gift idea.
Looking to start your own candle making business, check out my startup documents here
Please note that the contents of this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Any action taken based on the information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Additionally, all images used in this blog are generated under the CC0 license of Creative Commons, which means they are free to use for any purpose without attribution.
Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.