The market for luxury candles is on fire and fueling the overall growth of the home fragrances market. In fact, 2012 market growth reaching 3.5% was the highest in the past five years thanks to these pricey little luxuries. Prestige candles collectively posted a 6% gain due to exceptional performance from brands like LAFCO, Trapp, and Nest. Mass-market brand Air Wick had an outstanding performance this year because of the launch of its innovative Changing Colors candle.
While candles could be found in all types of containers, shapes, and sizes, the driving force behind category growth was scent, scent, and scent. And there was plenty of scent to choose from.
Travel and destination scents gained some traction this year with mass-marketer Air Wick pushing hard on all fronts with its National Parks themed-scents. Masculine scents and containers seem to be making inroads with many brands. Party Lite launches Ebony Oud Square Pillar and Wooden Wick Candle, which features a rustic textured finish with a masculine appeal. The PaddyWax Library Collection of author-inspired scents and packaging, such as Charles Dickens and Jane Austin, had a masculine edge to it. Nest’s After Midnight candle collection of three different scents offers consumer heavily scented candles contained in a black glass holder.
From a distribution standpoint, Internet sales made a splash this year helping candle consumers forego the mall and purchase their favorite Yankee Candle or Bath & Body Works candle online. Another notable marketing development is the widespread use of social media as a promotional avenue for home fragrance candle marketers–both prestige and mass. Presence on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter has become standard fare in the marketing strategy and an essential way for brand owners to stay in touch with existing and potential customers.
New product information and promotional offers are frequently posted by all the leading brands through their respective websites. Both mass and luxury marketers attempt to educate consumers about fragrance with a variety of brand website tools. Ribbon Wick’s website features a “Learn to Burn” video, which helps consumers to get additional candle care information. Air Wick’s website features “Find the perfect product for you,” a tool that helps consumers find the right fragrance and color based on their choices.
Early signs of consumer spending as indicated in the findings from our Home Fragrances Shopper Survey show that a healthy majority of consumers plan to spend more on home fragrance products than they did last year. Scent is also the driving force behind the vast majority of their purchases.