Driven by sales of luxury candles, the overall growth of the U.S. home fragrances market is set alight. Thanks to these simple luxuries, the market growth reaches 3.5% in 2012 and is the highest recorded over the past five years, finds Kline's recently published "Home Fragrances: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities" report. Prestige candles collectively posted a 6% gain due to the exceptional performance from brands like LAFCO, Trapp, and Nest.
While packaging plays a strong role in product presentation and candles are offered in all types of eye-catching containers, shapes, and sizes, the driving force behind the category's growth, by a nose, was scent. According to Kline's recently conducted home fragrance shopper survey Shopper Insights Tracking Service for the U.S. Home Fragrances Market, which compares shopping purchase patterns for home fragrance products, the consumer is looking out for scent. The survey also breaks one of the myths regarding the importance of wax color and packaging—both being secondary to scent.
It all smells good, but Karen Doskow, Kline's Consumer Products practice industry manager, cautions, "While scent is the leading purchase criterion, marketers should not neglect the importance of delivering important information in their packaging of candles and diffusers. Consumers surveyed overwhelmingly responded that knowing upfront the burn time or longevity of home fragrance products is key."
Among the most popular in 2012, travel and destination scents went places with mass-marketer Air Wick promoting the great outdoors, indoors, with its National Parks-themed fragrance. Masculine scents and containers also got noses twitching and wallets opening with Party Lite launching Ebony Oud Square Pillar and Wooden Wick Candle, which features a rustic, textured finish with a masculine appeal. Nest's After Midnight candle collection, inspired by Ke$ha's "Take It Off," offers three "alluring" scents sheathed in dark-black translucent glass.
Wax melts continue to register their highest gain since 2007 as several new smaller marketers enter the fold. The switch to wax melts from simmering oils is primarily driven by safety issues and the increase in consumer demand. Scentsy, the leading wax melt manufacturer, has further infused their position with new scents including A Wink & A Smile, Honey, Do!, Lemons & Berries, and Lilacs & Violets.
From a distribution standpoint, Internet sales continue to heat up as candle consumers forego the mall and purchase their favorite candles online. Both mass and luxury marketers are educating consumers about fragrance with a variety of brand website tools. Ribbonwick's website features a "Learn to Burn" video, which helps consumers optimize the use of their candles. Air Wick's website features "Find the perfect product for you," an interactive tool that assists consumers by finding the ideal fragrance and color based on their choices.
Early signs of intended consumer spending as indicated in the findings from our Home Fragrances Shopper Survey show that a healthy majority of consumers plan to spend more on home fragrance products than they did last year.[Source: "Home Fragrances: U.S. Market Analysis and Opportunities." "Shopper Insights Tracking Service for the U.S. Home Fragrances Market." Kline & Company. 1 Jul. 2013. Web. 10 Jul. 2013.]