Is Candle Making A Saturated Market Reddit

The allure of a flickering flame and soothing scents has kept candle making an evergreen industry. While candles have been around for thousands of years, providing both light and ambiance, the modern candle market continues to burn bright. With origins dating back to ancient Egypt, candles remain a staple decorative item and gift. However, the business of making and selling candles has changed tremendously, sparking debates about market saturation. Though the candle industry may seem crowded, opportunities still exist for artisanal makers and smart entrepreneurs. By examining market growth, competition, regulations, and trends, we can better understand if there is room for new candle ventures to succeed.

Candle Making Industry Overview

rows of different colored candles

The global candle market was estimated to be worth $12.88 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.7% between 2023 to 2030, reaching over $19 billion by 2030 according to Grand View Research. The United States is a major market, with estimated retail sales of candle products around $3.14 billion annually according to the National Candle Association.

Candle sales tend to be driven by seasonal demand, with sales peaking around holidays like Christmas. There has been steady growth over the last decade, with the global candle market being valued at just $5.5 billion in 2011 before doubling by 2022. Continued demand for home fragrance products is expected to drive this growth going forward.

Within the overall candle market, scented candles are a major segment, estimated at $556 million globally in 2022 and projected to grow 4.1% annually through 2030 according to Grand View Research. This demonstrates the popularity of scented varieties, though unscented candles also maintain a solid market share.

Growth of Ecommerce

The rise of ecommerce has created new opportunities for small and hobby candle makers to reach a wider audience online. According to Medium, the convenience of buying candles through ecommerce channels has attracted more customers. Platforms like Etsy, Amazon Handmade, and Shopify make it easy for small scale candle makers to open up online stores. Whereas in the past, artisans may have only sold at local craft fairs, the internet provides access to a global customer base looking for unique handmade products.

With the rise in ecommerce, niche hobby businesses like candle making can tap into growth. According to one source, the online market for candles is expected to reach $11 billion by 2025. This trend toward online shopping benefits small candle makers, giving them an outlet to sell their products across distances. While major retail competition exists, ecommerce levels the playing field by giving small businesses visibility and a platform to market their brand.

DIY and Handmade Trend

person pouring candle wax

The handmade and DIY movement has fueled a growing interest in candle making in recent years. According to Candle Trends 2023: Level Up Your Handmade Candles, handcrafted candles allow creators to express their individuality and connect with customers looking for unique products. The DIY trend has led many people to try their hand at candle making as a hobby or side business. Platforms like Pinterest and Etsy have enabled handmade candle creators to find an audience for their products. According to Pinterest’s Top 10 candles trends ideas, DIY and handmade candles are expected to remain popular into 2023 as more people discover the creative possibilities of candle making.

Difficulty of Entry

The startup costs for a candle making business can range from $350 to $3,000 depending on the scale of operations ( At a minimum, you’ll need supplies like wax, fragrance oils, wicks and jars. Some basic equipment is required as well like a double boiler, thermometer, pour pot, scale, candle wicks, and molds. More advanced operations will need additional equipment like a hot wax melter, wax warmer, label maker, shrink wrap machine, and shipping materials.

You can start small by making candles at home and selling at markets or online. This allows you to keep overhead costs low when starting out. As you scale up, you may need a dedicated production space and to invest in additional equipment. But it’s possible to test the market first without a huge upfront investment.


The candle making industry has a mix of major manufacturers as well as small and micro businesses. Major manufacturers like Yankee Candle, Bath & Body Works, and Slatkin & Co. make up a large portion of candle sales, with Yankee Candle holding nearly 50% of the US candle market. These major brands have widespread distribution in retail stores, their own retail locations, and ecommerce sites with high traffic. Their large production capacity and brand recognition provide economies of scale.
yankee candle logo

Small and micro candle makers have seen rapid growth in recent years, buoyed by the rise of ecommerce platforms like Etsy, Shopify, and Amazon Handmade. These small batch makers focus on unique fragrances, artisanal ingredients like soy wax and cotton wicks, and handmade techniques. Their competitive advantage is in product differentiation, customization, and brand personality connecting directly with customers. Turnaround from idea to finished product can be faster. However, many small makers struggle with the high costs of materials, packaging, shipping, and marketing compared to major manufacturers.


Marketing is crucial for any candle business to succeed in this competitive market. With the rise of social media and ecommerce, there are many effective strategies candle businesses can leverage to attract customers and build their brand.

Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook provide opportunities to showcase products, share behind-the-scenes content, and engage with followers. Beautiful, high-quality product photos and creative packaging designs will draw attention on these visual platforms. Using relevant hashtags and tagging other complementary brands can expand reach. Social media advertising can also help target ideal demographics (Source 1).

Investing in great packaging and labels is another important marketing tactic. Unique, stand-out packaging will make products pop on store shelves and social feeds. Information about ingredients, scents, and origin story on labels allows customers to connect with the brand. Offering a variety of packaging options at different price points also helps cater to diverse buyers (Source 2).

Defining and communicating brand identity through logo, color scheme, messaging, etc. establishes cohesion across marketing channels. Conveying brand values and story gives customers something to relate to beyond just the product. Overall, balancing beautiful visuals, engaging content, and brand narrative is key for marketing success.

Safety and Regulations

When selling candles, it is crucial to follow fire safety and labeling regulations. According to the ASTM F2417 standard, candles sold in the United States must adhere to requirements for labeling, stability, lead content, and other safety factors ( Proper labeling is required and must include the company name, warnings like “keep away from children”, and instructions for safe use and care. The Consumer Product Safety Commission also has guidelines for candle testing and fire safety.

Though no federal business license is required, you may need licenses and permits on the state or local level. Check regulations in your city, county, or state to determine if you need a general business license, permit, Certificate of Occupancy, or tax ID to sell candles from your home ( Following fire code regulations and properly labeling candles are key steps to operating a safe and legal candle business.

Profit Potential

Given candle making’s high profit margins, starting a small candle business can offer substantial income possibilities. Forbes reports that candle makers generally aim for 25-50% profit margins on their products. With proper planning and cost control, profit margins can reach 200-300% according to Tailor Brands.

candles with price tags

By starting small and selling online or at local markets, new candle makers can test products and build demand without major upfront investments. As they develop their brand and customer base, there is significant potential to scale up production and increase profits over time. With persistence and quality products, homemade candle businesses can become quite lucrative.

However, candle entrepreneurs should research costs thoroughly and have adequate working capital before committing fully to candle making as their primary income source. But for many, it can become a fulfilling and financially rewarding small business with the right preparation and effort.


There is great opportunity in the candle making market despite the saturation. Handcrafted, high quality candles stand out against mass-produced options. The growth of ecommerce and platforms like Etsy make it easier than ever to reach customers online. The DIY/handmade trend means demand for unique, artisanal candles continues to rise. While there is competition, focusing on your niche and effective marketing can help you succeed. Safety regulations must be followed but are manageable. Startup costs are relatively low in this home-based business that can be pursued part-time with the potential for great profits. With passion and effort, there is still room for candle makers to carve out success in this industry.

The conclusion provides a concise summary of the analysis demonstrating that there remains opportunity in the saturated candle market for new entrants willing to put in the work to create quality, targeted products and connect with customers. The key factors driving continued potential are recapped including the growth of ecommerce, interest in handmade/DIY, product differentiation, and relatively low barriers to entry. The section aims to leave readers feeling that starting a candle business, while competitive, is still viable with proper execution.

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