If you're contemplating starting a candle business or already have one, you've probably wondered whether you should align your products with the changing seasons. After all, candles are not just a source of light; they're a mood setter, a décor piece and even a statement about someone’s personal style. But do people really seek out different scents as the seasons change? Or is this all marketing hype?
This post aims to shed light on these questions, looking into when candles sell the most, what types of scents correspond to which seasons and how the modern consumer's candle-buying habits have evolved. Get ready to go on a fragrant journey through the world of seasonal candles, as well as discover how to broaden your candle brand’s customer base year-round.
Why Do Candle Sales Surge in Colder Months?
When the leaves begin to fall and the air turns crisp, it's almost instinctive to seek out warmth and comfort. This is where candles really shine—quite literally. Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a room feel cosy or comfortable. But why exactly is this particularly true in the colder months?
Let’s set the scene. You’re sitting by a roaring fire, a hot chocolate in hand, while the scent of a cinnamon candle wafts through the air. It's not just the heat that a candle provides, but also the ambiance, the atmosphere and the specific scents that are associated with comfort and warmth.
Fragrances like cinnamon, pumpkin and gingerbread invoke the spirit of the spooky and festive seasons, from Halloween to Christmas, enhancing the cosiness factor exponentially. When the temperature drops, it's no surprise that candles with these comforting notes become a staple in many households.
So, if you’re planning your product line, ignoring autumn and winter scents would be a seasonal blunder. Ensure you have a solid line-up of these fragrances ready to capture the cosy-seeking clientele.
Christmas Isn’t the Busiest Time for Candle Businesses
With the above information in mind, you may be thinking “the colder it gets, the hotter my candle sales are”. But is there any truth to it? We’ve dug a little bit deeper at NI Candle Supplies using SEMRush to examine Google search volume trends for seasonal candles, and the results are surprising:
- Spring candles: 170 monthly searches in the UK
- Summer candles: 110 monthly searches in the UK
- Autumn candles: 1,600 monthly searches in the UK
- Winter candles: 480 monthly searches in the UK
Interestingly, while winter sees a modest surge in interest, it's actually autumn that steals the show. But why the early shift, especially when summer has barely ended? It could be down to the growing trend of decorating homes specifically for the spooky season, with many Gen-Z homeowners filling their spaces with colourful leaves, pumpkins, and of course, autumn-inspired candles.
So, while candles do enjoy a seasonal spike in the colder months, it's autumn that really shines as the must-target season for any savvy candle business owner. If your product line is lacking in autumn scents or Halloween-themed candles, you may be missing out on a crucial sales opportunity.
The All-Season Appeal of Candles
We've established that autumn is a golden opportunity for candle sales. But what about the rest of the year? You might be surprised to learn that candles are not just for chilly nights and the festive season. In fact, 40% of candle buyers purchase candles consistently throughout the year, according to a study carried out by the National Candle Association.
What's more, candles have become a go-to gift option for various occasions: 76% of buyers view candles as an appropriate gift for the holidays, 74% see them as a great housewarming gift, 66% would give them as a hostess or dinner party gift, and 61% think they make a thoughtful 'thank you' gesture. Don't forget adult birthdays, where 58% of purchasers consider candles to be a suitable gift.
The Self-Care Revolution
There's also a cultural shift that's giving the candle business an all-year-round boost. Due to rising awareness about self-care and well-being—accentuated during the COVID-19 pandemic—consumers are more invested than ever in creating a cosy and soothing atmosphere at home. In the United States, it’s reported that candle sales surged by a whopping 30% around this time, according to Business Wire.
This focus on self-care means that the commercial use of candles is also on the rise. Spas and massage centres are increasingly incorporating aromatherapy candles into their services, contributing to a strong, sustained demand for quality candles. So, when planning your product line, consider versatile scents and styles that can be used in a variety of settings, from intimate home gatherings to wellness centres.
The Takeaway: Diversify Your Candle Range
While it's essential to capitalise on the heightened demand during colder seasons, don't underestimate the year-round appeal of candles. By offering a varied range of scents and styles, you'll not only broaden your target audience but also ensure a consistent stream of revenue throughout the year.
Maximising Your Business During the ‘Slow Season’
While we've seen that candles are an all-season product, with increasing popularity in various quarters, let's not neglect the importance of preparing for the high-impact seasons—autumn and winter. A staggering 50% of all retail candle sales occur in the 4th quarter of the year, emphasising the significance of planning for the final months of the year. Here’s how you can keep busy in the quieter months:
Reflect on the Past Season
- Review sales metrics: Look back on last season's performance to identify bestsellers and low-performing items. Evaluate which fragrances, containers, sizes, and price points were most popular.
- Assess sales channels: Check which platforms or stores yielded the best sales and customer interaction.
- Listen to customer feedback: Pay attention to customer requests for new fragrances, vessels, or other products, and consider incorporating these into your next line.
- Tackle inventory challenges: Identify supplies that were difficult to secure in peak times and consider ordering these earlier.
Observe Your Competition
- Competitive analysis: Review what competitors are doing well and consider how you can apply similar strategies in a unique way.
- Market trends: Follow industry leaders for inspiration and insights on upcoming trends to keep your offerings fresh.
Research and Innovation
- Stay trendy: Monitor fragrance, home décor and fashion industries to keep your products up-to-date. Use platforms like Pinterest for new ideas.
- Expand your craft: Use the slow season to explore new techniques, such as making your own pottery vessels or introducing new shapes and sizes.
Upgrade Your Business Tools
- Website and marketing material: Use this time to update your website, product labels, and other marketing assets to reflect your evolving brand.
- Learning and development: Enhance your skills in areas like marketing, accounting or business management to better manage your candle business.
Plan Your Finances & Inventory
- Budget planning: Develop a detailed budget covering all costs including supplies, shipping, marketing, and operations.
- Stock up: July and August are crucial for inventory planning. Buying in bulk can save you money and prevent out-of-stock situations during busy months. Ensure you have adequate storage conditions for bulk items, especially for temperature-sensitive materials like wax or fragrance oil.
Get a Head Start
- Early production: Start producing your autumn and winter candles early to ease the pressure during peak season. This also allows adequate curing time for your candles, ensuring maximum fragrance throw when customers finally light them up.
- Look out for pre-season sales: Candle-making suppliers like NI Candle Supplies often run their Christmas scent sale in summer, so bag a bargain by signing up for mailing lists (log in and update your preferences or create an account and opt in to receive) and looking out for early deals.
By using the slower months productively, you set the stage for a successful peak season. Planning, researching and preparing in advance can give you a competitive edge, ensuring that you meet customer demands effectively while also managing your resources wisely.