What Is The Top Selling Candle Fragrance?

Scented candles have become an increasingly popular home fragrance product over the past few decades. According to the National Candle Association, U.S. retail sales of candle products were estimated at approximately $3.14 billion in 2013 and continue to grow (source: https://candles.org/facts-figures-2/). The global candle market was valued at $12.88 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $19.31 billion by 2030, indicating strong and steady growth in the industry (source: https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/candles-market).

With scented candles available in a huge range of fragrance varieties, there are certain smells that rise to the top as consumer favorites year after year. This article will explore the most popular scented candle fragrances purchased and enjoyed in homes across America.

Most Popular Candle Scents

When it comes to the most popular candle scents, there are a few tried-and-true favorites that rise to the top. Based on candle sales data and input from major candle retailers, the top 5 best-selling candle fragrances are:


a row of vanilla scented candles.

Vanilla is hands-down one of the most universally loved candle scents. The warm, sweet, sensuous fragrance of vanilla makes it a perennial best-seller. Vanilla candle scents are available in many varieties, from plain vanilla to vanilla balsam, vanilla bean, and vanilla cupcake blends.


The relaxing and soothing scent of lavender is another candle favorite. From French lavender to lavender vanilla combinations, lavender candle scents promote tranquility and are popular for winding down in the evenings.

Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice has grown immensely in popularity over the past decade. These spicy, warmth-evoking fragrances with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove are hugely popular in the fall months.


Vanilla is often cited as the most popular candle scent. According to Nomad Noe, vanilla first appeared as a sacred scent used in temples and shrines. The popularity of vanilla candles began when the Aztecs conquered the Totonacs and discovered the vanilla plant. Vanilla became an exclusive import to Europe in the 16th century, considered a luxury item only available to the elite. The development of synthetic vanillin in the late 19th century made vanilla more affordable and accessible as a fragrance note, leading to its widespread use in candles today.

According to GoCandles, during the 1990s gourmand fragrances like vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin became trendy. Vanilla remains a top seller for major candle brands, prized for its sweet, comforting, edible scent that is attractive to a wide range of consumers.


Lavender is one of the most popular candle scents due to its soothing and relaxing properties. The fragrance from lavender can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and lower blood pressure (https://sojourncompany.com/blog/lavender-candle-benefits/). Lavender oil contains linalool and linalyl acetate, compounds that have demonstrated sedative effects in studies (https://candlebenefits.com/lavender-candle-benefits/). The calming scent of lavender can lower heart rate and stress levels. Burning a lavender scented candle before bedtime can help promote deeper sleep.

Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin spice is one of the most popular seasonal candle scents in the fall. As soon as autumn hits, pumpkin spice-scented items start popping up in stores, from candles to baked goods. The scent has become synonymous with fall and the arrival of cooler weather.

According to the New York Times, when pumpkin spice lattes were introduced at Starbucks in 2003, pumpkin spice candle sales flourished (https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/13/dining/food-candles.html). The pumpkin spice scent evokes cozy feelings of the fall season. Retailers have capitalized on the nostalgia and popularity of the scent by heavily marketing pumpkin spice products in September and October each year.

One article notes that pumpkin spice candle sales skyrocket after Labor Day, when fall seasonal items start hitting store shelves (https://blog.coldwellbanker.com/labor-day-a-transitional-time-of-year-at-home/). The scent has become ingrained in the autumnal retail and lifestyle market.

Citrus Scents

Uplifting citrus scents like grapefruit, orange, and lemon are some of the most popular candle fragrances. Citrus candles promote feelings of energy and happiness. Studies show that the pleasant scent of citrus helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels (cite: https://candlebenefits.com/citrus-candle-benefits/). Burning citrus candles can provide mood-boosting aromatherapy benefits. The scent of lemon is known for its refreshing and revitalizing properties that can aid focus and concentration.

People often choose citrus candles because they provide a clean, crisp scent. The invigorating aromas of citrus fruits create an energizing ambiance. Grapefruit and orange candles with their sweet, bright scents are preferred for spring and summer. Lemons have a tart, zesty fragrance that pairs well with herbs like rosemary or lavender. Overall, citrus candles are popular year-round due to their abilities to uplift and promote positivity.

Floral Scents

Floral scents like jasmine, rose, and lilac are eternally popular for candles. The sweet, delicate fragrance of flowers evokes feelings of freshness and femininity. Floral candles often employ essential oils like rose otto and jasmine absolute to capture the natural scent of petals. Top sellers in the floral category include jasmine, lavender, rose, honeysuckle, and lilac.

Jasmine is one of the most expensive essential oils, prized for its rich, heady aroma. Jasmine candles contain real jasmine extract for an authentic scent. The florid, romantic fragrance of jasmine candles set a peaceful mood.

Classic rose scents are also prevalent. Roses have an intricate, sweet smell that blends well with other floral notes like violet and magnolia. Rose-scented candles range from fresh and green to rich and spicy. They provide a timeless floral bouquet.

Lilac is lighter and more powdery than other florals. It evokes feelings of tranquility and nostalgia. The spring-like scent of lilac candles is widely loved for its gentle soothing properties.

In summary, candles that capture the scent of real flowers like jasmine, rose, and lilac remain sought-after for their beautiful, feminine fragrance. When blended into candles, these floral essential oils create an authentic sensory experience.

Food Scents

Food-inspired scents have become increasingly popular for candles. Many companies are creating gourmand candles that smell just like your favorite desserts or meals.

One major trend is candles that smell like baked goods and sweets, such as apple pie, cinnamon buns, and chocolate chip cookies. These scents are often very nostalgic and transport people back to childhood or a cozy bakery. Candles that smell like cinnamon, sugar cookies, cake batter, and icing are especially in demand.

Savory food scents are also growing, including candles that smell like pizza, tacos, bacon, and even fried chicken. These allow people to enjoy the aroma of their favorite comfort foods anytime. Overall, food-inspired candles let consumers surround themselves with mouthwatering scents.

Luxury/Boutique Scents

Luxury candle brands are defined by their unique scent blends and high-end branding. Many use premium ingredients like perfume-grade fragrances and essential oils to create one-of-a-kind aromas. Popular luxury candle scents include exotic florals like tuberose and gardenia, as well as lush gourmands featuring notes of vanilla, caramel, and candied fruits. Luxury candles also showcase more complex, sophisticated scents compared to mass-market varieties. Brands like Diptyque, Jo Malone, and Nest are known for their custom-crafted fragrances that can’t be found anywhere else. These artisanal creations often come with premium packaging and accessories as part of the luxury experience. While expensive, luxury candle scents provide an indulgent, sophisticated home fragrance experience.


When reviewing the most popular candle scents, it’s clear that certain aromatic profiles rise to the top time and again. The classics like vanilla, lavender, and pumpkin spice continue to have an enduring, nostalgic appeal for candle lovers. Fresh, bright citrus scents also remain a top choice for their clean, uplifting aroma. While trends come and go, floral bouquets and mouthwatering food scents are also mainstays in the world of candles. And for those looking for something more unique, artisanal brands are pushing new boundaries with sophisticated luxury fragrances. But across all categories, people are most drawn to candles that evoke positive memories, create an ambiance, and transport them to places real or imagined. The right scent has the power to instantly shift a mood or environment. So whether one is looking to relax, energize, or evoke nostalgia, there is a best-selling fragrance to match. The popularity of candles shows no signs of waning, and neither does our fascination with filleding our homes with beautiful scents.

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