Scented candles have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. What was once seen as a novelty item is now a staple in many homes. But who exactly is buying and using scented candles? Research shows there are certain demographics that tend to prefer scented candles over others.
Women vs Men
Studies consistently show that women are more likely to use scented candles than men. A survey conducted by the National Candle Association found that 82% of women reported using scented candles, compared to 61% of men. Market research also indicates that approximately 70% of scented candle buyers are female.
This gender difference may come down to personal preferences. Surveys find that men are less interested in home decor and fragrances than women. The scents and ambiance created by candles are more likely to appeal to women. Candles are also commonly marketed towards women. Major retailers place most scented candles in sections targeted at female shoppers.
Younger vs Older
Age also plays a role in who uses scented candles. Data shows that scented candles appeal most to Millennials and Gen Xers. Over 80% of Millennials reported using scented candles in the past year, more than any other generation. Gen X follows closely behind with 75% reporting scented candle use.
In comparison, only 50% of Baby Boomers said they use scented candles. The Silent Generation uses them the least, with just 35% reporting scented candle use. The preference for scented candles declines with age.
Millennials likely favor scented candles because they are drawn to new home fragrance trends. Gen X may use candles to relieve stress from busy family lives. Older Americans may find scented candle fragrances too strong or unnecessary.
Urban vs Suburban vs Rural
Population density also impacts scented candle use. Surveys indicate that people in urban areas use scented candles the most, at about 75%. Next are suburban residents at 60% usage. Rural populations use scented candles the least at just 40%.
The increased popularity of scented candles in cities and suburbs may be attributed to a few factors. Urban households tend to be smaller, with less space for potpourri or wall plug-ins. Apartment living may drive city dwellers to use contained fragrance sources like candles. Suburban homes are also a key consumer market for scented home goods.
Additionally, rural communities have less access to shopping outlets that sell scented candles. Urban and suburban regions have more specialty home goods stores per capita that promote candle products. Proximity and exposure likely influence candle purchases.
East Coast vs West Coast vs Midwest vs South
Looking at broad regions, scented candle use appears consistent across most of the United States. According to market research, about 65% of households along the East Coast and West Coast reported using scented candles. The Midwest is nearly tied at 60% usage. Only the South dips slightly below the national average, with 55% of Southerners saying they use scented candles.
While subtle, the lower scented candle use in Southern states may be due to the warmer climate. Candles tend to be used most during the colder fall and winter months. The South experiences more mild winters with less time spent indoors. Their demand for indoor fragrances like candles may be a bit lower as a result. However, the differences between regions are relatively small.
High vs Low Income Households
Household income also correlates with scented candle use. Higher income households making over $100,000 per year tend to use scented candles the most, at about 75% of homes. Middle income homes in the $50,000 to $100,000 range use candles at a 65% rate. Lower income households making under $50,000 annually use scented candles the least, at just 50% of families.
The difference in scented candle use between income levels boils down to affordability. Scented candles can be considered non-essential decorative items. Higher earning households have more disposable income to spend on home luxuries like candles. Lower income homes may prioritize necessities first. Although scented candles appeal across demographics, their use is ultimately tied to financial means.
In summary, the typical scented candle user is more often female, younger, urban, on the coasts, and relatively affluent. However, scented candles have expanded beyond these core demographics in recent years. Anyone can find enjoyment in the scents, ambiance, and therapeutic benefits offered by candles. With diverse products at various price points, scented candles have universal appeal. Their popularity is expected to continue growing as more people discover the joys of scented candle use.