What Gender Buys Candles?

Candles have been used for thousands of years to provide light and ambiance in homes. While they started as a functional product, candles have evolved into a beloved decor item and self-care tool. The warm glow and inviting scents of candles create an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation. With the wide variety of styles, colors, and scents available today, candles can match any decor or mood.

The candle industry has experienced impressive growth over the last decade, showing the product’s enduring popularity. In the U.S. alone, candle sales reached $3.14 billion in 2018. With this booming market, understanding the typical candle buyer provides valuable insight for retailers and brands. Examining purchasing patterns sheds light on who is buying candles and why. This information can help candle companies tailor products and marketing to resonate with their target audience.

Women Are the Primary Candle Buyers

It’s no secret that women purchase candles at a much higher rate than men. Market research has shown that over the past five years, approximately 75% of all candle purchases in the United States were made by women. The majority of retail sales data collected by candle companies confirm this statistic, with some brands reporting up to 85% of their customers being female.

There are a few key factors driving this trend:

  • Women tend to be in charge of home decor and fragrance purchases for the household.
  • Candles are often gifted to women for birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions.
  • Women are more likely to use candles for relaxation, aromatherapy, and setting a “mood.”
  • Major retail displays and candle marketing campaigns almost exclusively target female consumers.

With such a strong preference among women for buying candles over men, it’s clear which gender makes up the core demographic in this $3 billion industry.

Reasons Why Women Buy Candles

Women often buy candles for relaxation and creating a calming environment. The pleasant scents and warm glow of candlelight help soothe the senses after a stressful day. Lighting a candle during an evening bath or before bedtime helps create a tranquil mood that eases tension. The flickering light and aroma promote relaxation and can make it easier to unwind.

Candles are also popular for their aromatherapy benefits. Scents like lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus have calming, soothing properties that can aid sleep, reduce anxiety, and elevate mood. Women enjoy lighting scented candles to create an ambiance that enhances their emotional well-being. The aromatherapy experience candles provide makes them a comforting self-care ritual.

In addition, women use candles to decorate their homes and bring personality into their living spaces. Candles add warmth, visual interest, and an inviting atmosphere to any room. Women often choose candles that coordinate with their interior design style or reflect the season. Candle displays on tables, shelves, and windowsills inject style, color, and charm into home decor.

Men Also Enjoy Candles

While women may be the primary purchasers of candles, men are also fans of candlelight and appealing scents. Candle makers have responded to this demand by creating candles with men in mind.

Many candles marketed to men feature simpler, cleaner designs compared to the more ornate packaging often aimed at women. Popular scents for men’s candles include fresh and outdoorsy notes like pine, cedar, smoke, tobacco, leather, and herbs. These evoke a masculine feeling without heavy floral or fruity notes.

Scented candles make thoughtful gifts for the men in your life. They can create an inviting ambiance while also emitting a subtle, pleasant fragrance. Men who enjoy camping, hunting, or the outdoors will likely appreciate candles bringing those scents indoors.

Couples Buying Candles Together

Candles play an important role in many romantic relationships and are often purchased jointly by couples. Here are some of the key reasons couples frequently buy candles together:

Candles make for romantic and thoughtful gifts. Surprising your significant other with their favorite scented candle or a beautifully-designed decorative candle shows you care. Candles gifts are especially popular for anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, and other special occasions.

Candles help set the mood for romantic dinners, evenings at home, and intimate gatherings. Couples want to create warm, cozy atmospheres, so they stock up on candles together. Lighting candles makes any room feel more relaxed and inviting.

Buying and using candles is a shared activity that couples enjoy. Going candle shopping together and picking out new scents is a fun date. Couples also like lighting candles before cuddling up to watch a movie or spending quality time together at home.

Candles are decorative items that represent a couple’s shared style and aesthetic. When moving in together or decorating their home, couples jointly select candles that match their taste. The candles they display reflect their tastes and personalities as a couple.

In many households, candle purchasing and maintenance is a shared responsibility. Couples add candles to the grocery list, monitor when current candles are low or need to be replaced, and agree on new candles to try.

Age Breakdown of Candle Buyers

Candles are popular across all age ranges. Recent surveys of candle buyers show a relatively even distribution among different age groups. Teenagers and young adults appreciate candles for ambiance when hanging out with friends or a romantic partner. Millennials use candles to relax after busy workdays and decorate small living spaces. Middle-aged adults often begin gifting candles and incorporating them into traditions as they start families. And seniors enjoy candles to provide comfort, light, and scent in their homes.

While candles may seem like a stereotypical gift for grandmothers, modern candle companies have worked hard to market their products to people of all ages. Scent profiles and branding now appeal to men, women, teens, and kids. Candles make great gifts for birthdays, weddings, holidays, and more. Their wide appeal confirms that age is not a significant factor driving candle purchases.

Seasonal Candle Purchasing Trends

Candle sales tend to peak during certain times of the year, especially around major holidays and seasons. The fall and winter months see a big boost in candle purchases, as people want to make their homes feel cozy and warm during the colder weather. The winter holiday season from November through December is the biggest candle selling period, as candles are popular gifts and home decorations for celebrations like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.

Late spring and summer also see an uptick in candle sales around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, weddings, and other warm weather activities like backyard barbecues. Scented candles pair well for gift giving and setting the mood for festive occasions. Birthdays are another big driver of candle sales year-round.

In the fall, popular seasonal candle scents are pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, and other cozy bakery smells. Winter holiday scents include balsam, pine, cranberry, vanilla, and gingerbread. Florals and fruits come into favor for spring and summer. Knowing these seasonal purchasing trends can help candle retailers, manufacturers, and marketers maximize sales during peak times of year.

Most Popular Candle Scents

When it comes to the most popular scents for candles, the top choices tend to be focused on relaxation, seasonal celebrations, and cleanliness.

Lavender is one of the classic scents when it comes to relaxation-focused candles. The floral aroma of lavender evokes feelings of calm and tranquility. Lavender-scented candles are popular among those looking to wind down in the evenings or create a soothing environment.

During the fall season, pumpkin spice is one of the most sought-after scents. These candles invoke the flavors of autumn with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. They are hugely popular during autumn months and can quickly get people in the spirit of the season.

Clean cotton scents also rank among customer favorites for candles. These fresh scents are reminiscent of freshly washed linens drying outdoors on a breezy day. They give a crisp, inviting impression and are chosen by many wanting to make their homes smell clean and refreshed.

Factors Influencing Candle Purchases

There are several key factors that influence consumers when they are deciding which candles to buy. Price, brand, reviews, and gift-giving occasions all play a role in candle purchasing decisions.

Price is often the first consideration, as consumers look for candles at different price points based on their budget. Less expensive candles from mass retailers tend to be popular for everyday use, while more expensive luxury candles are saved for special occasions or as gifts. Consumers will also look at the size and burn time of a candle in assessing its value.

Brand recognition also sways candle buyers, who may be drawn to well-known candle companies that are viewed as higher quality or aspirational. A brand’s reputation, packaging, and messaging can influence consumer perceptions of its candles.

Online customer reviews have become instrumental for candle purchases, as buyers rely heavily on star ratings and written feedback to evaluate quality. Positive or negative reviews can make or break a candle’s sales. Sites like Amazon have become go-to resources for candle ratings.

Gift-giving is a major driver of candle sales. Scented candles are popular gifts for birthdays, holidays, housewarmings, and other occasions. When purchasing a candle as a gift, appearance, scent, branding, and packaging become especially important factors.


In summary, while it may come as no surprise that women are the primary purchasers of candles, digging deeper into the reasons behind those purchases reveals some interesting insights. Women often buy candles for uses beyond simple home decor, like aromatherapy, relaxation, and creating a desired ambiance. However, men are steadily increasing their candle purchases as well, especially those geared around shared experiences with a significant other. And seasonal factors, like holidays and time of year, also impact candle sales.

Looking to the future, we may see more gender-neutral marketing of candles, catering to both men and women. There also seems to be room for growth in candles marketed for couples and experiences. Unique scent profiles and experiential retail environments centered around candles may further increase interest across demographics. But the soothing glow of a lit candle and its power to instantly transform a space will likely continue appealing to people of all kinds for years to come.

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