A zoomed-in shot of an atlas, focusing on European countries. Sourced from Pexels.

Which Countries Buy the Most Candles?

5 mins read

If you’ve landed here, it’s likely that your candle sales are hot right now, and you’re wondering how you can take business to the next level. Perhaps you’re pondering “where can I sell my candles overseas?”. You’re onto something here because the global candle market is not just flickering—it's ablaze with opportunities! (First things first: get yourself up to speed with the costs of a candle business before taking the leap.)

Once you’ve got your head around the financial side of things, it’s time to talk target audience. While the market may be expansive, the real secret to making your mark is knowing just who is the most eager to cosy up to your hand-poured soy candles or unwind with your calming lavender scents. As it turns out, understanding your target market can be the difference between a flicker and a blaze in this industry.

With this in mind, we've gathered some research on the top countries where candles are lighting up lives and sales charts, offering invaluable insights for your candle-making business. Whether you're just sparking your entrepreneurial journey or looking to fan the flames of an existing venture, knowing where to focus can make all the difference. 

Understanding the global candle market 

The world is increasingly turning towards the comforting glow of candles, whether it's to set the mood for a romantic dinner, aid in meditation or simply bring a sense of calm into the home. And the numbers are here to back it up. The candle market is anything but stagnant, projected to reach an astonishing USD 13.72 billion by 2026. This signals a world market for candles that's catching fire in the best possible way.

So, what's fuelling this growing trend? The types of candles consumers are gravitating towards can tell us a lot about the state of the market. From the timeless elegance of pillar candles to the rich aromas of scented varieties, the latest candle trends have found homes in diverse consumer preferences. 

But it's not just about what’s on the shelf—it's also about how it gets there. While traditional brick-and-mortar stores still account for a significant chunk of sales, online platforms are quickly catching up, offering customers the convenience of shopping from the comforts of their homes.

Cosy living room setting with a woman, her dog and candles on the coffee table. Sourced from Unsplash.

The U.S. is the torchbearer 

When it comes to the global candle market, the United States isn't just a participant—it's a leader that sets the pace. Accounting for over a third of all global candle sales, the U.S. is a force to be reckoned with in the candle industry. But why are Americans such a fan of candles? It goes beyond just a fad for pumpkin spice.

Candles have woven themselves into the American lifestyle. They're not just the go-to during power outages; they're the backdrop for relaxation, the catalyst for mood-setting and the finishing touch to home décor. That said, America’s love for season-specific aromas shouldn’t be overlooked. Fall (autumn for us) brings a surge in warm, spicy candles, while spring sees a demand for floral and fresh scents. 

The variety doesn't end there. Whether it's a luxury brand, a farmer's market find or even a crafty Etsy shop, there's a candle for every consumer's taste and budget. So, if you're eyeing the U.S. market for your candle-making business, know that the opportunities are vast and varied.

Taking all this into account, for anyone operating or considering whether it’s worth launching a candle-making business, the U.S. market offers not only a broad audience but also the potential for high-volume sales. Simply put, if you can make it here, chances are you'll ignite interest in other parts of the world, too.

Europe’s love affair with candles 

It's not just the United States setting trends in the candle market. With its rich history and appreciation for the finer things in life, Europe is another hot spot for candles. While the U.S. may dominate in sales volume, European countries have the edge when it comes to diversity and craftsmanship.

Homes in this diverse continent aren't strangers to the soothing ambience of a flickering candle. The long winters in Northern Europe, especially, make candles an almost essential part of home living. But what truly sets the European market apart is the demand for quality over quantity. Artisanal candles crafted with high-grade materials and intricate designs have a dedicated following here.

So, if you’re wondering who is most likely to appreciate your hand-poured candles, the team at NI Candle Supplies has done some digging into the European candle market trends so you don’t have to… 

Germany, the European champion of candle imports

Germany leads the pack when it comes to candle love in Europe. In 2021, this economic powerhouse was responsible for 21% of European candle imports. So, if you specialize in handcrafted or luxury candles, Germany is an ideal marketplace for making a strong entry.

A close second: The United Kingdom

Not far behind is the UK, accounting for 18% of imports. Interestingly, both Germany and the UK saw a rise in imports in 2020, despite the pandemic—showing that candles are more than a mere indulgence; they're a comfort people turn to in trying times.

A smiling woman with hands cupped around a medium candle. Sourced from Pexels.

The Dutch influence: Netherlands

The Netherlands stands at 11%, also showing resilience in imports during 2020. Given that this country acts as a gateway to many other European markets, it's a smart strategy to consider the Dutch market when planning your European expansion.

The understated players: France, Austria and Belgium

Though not as robust as the top three, France (5.9%), Austria (4.4%), and Belgium (4.3%) also present promising markets. Particularly in France, where an estimated 4.3 million people used scented candles as air fresheners in 2020. So if you're into aromatherapy candles, the French market is ripe for the picking.

The bigger picture

Since 2014, the EU has been importing increasing volumes of candles, reaching a peak in 2021. Notably, the same year saw over 139 thousand tons of candles exported from the EU to various trading partners around the globe.

So, what does all this mean for your candle-making business? Well, Europe is not just a market; it's a labyrinth of opportunities. Knowing which corridors to explore can turn your small venture into an international brand. (Pssst, check out this article for more tips on finding your specific target audience.)

Note: While 2021 showed positive trends in candle imports across Europe, some of this could be due to delayed shipments from 2020. The post-pandemic landscape is still shaping up, and only time will tell if these trends will solidify.

Lighting the path to global opportunities

Well, there you have it—your comprehensive guide to understanding where your candles are most likely to shine. Whether you’re a newcomer to the scene or a seasoned pro, the verdict is pretty clear: the United States and Europe are key players.

In the U.S., the market is all about versatility. Seasonal aromas, varying price points, and broad consumer tastes make this a lucrative spot to make a mark. Europe, on the other hand, leans toward quality and craftsmanship, with Germany, the UK, and the Netherlands leading the pack. If you specialize in handcrafted or artisanal candles, you'll find a welcoming audience here.

So what's the bottom line? Know your target audience. Customising your candles to cater to different tastes and needs can turn your flicker of an idea into a roaring business. With the global candle market booming, there's no better time to bring your product into the limelight.

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