WAX BUILDUP

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Last year, Americans burned candles to the tune of $2.4 billion and spent another $500 million on accessories like candlesticks and extinguishers. This, according to a report released in January by Stevens, Pa.-based market research firm Unity Marketing. Since 1996, annual sales of wicks and sticks have risen 62 percent and are expected to grow to $2.7 billion by 2003. Last year, at least one person in 65 percent of American households purchased a candle. The typical candle customer acquired 30 new candles in 2001, paying an estimated $42. But a disproportionately large chunk of paraffin went into the households of Hispanics and young adults. Last year, Hispanics purchased 43 candles compared with blacks, who purchased 25 candles and whites, who bought 30. But 18- to 24-year-olds win the prize for excessive candle consumption, buying, on average, 59 candles apiece, double the number of every other age group. There's no telling what percent hold séances in their dorm rooms with a Ouija board.

MOOD LIGHTING

Jar candles are most preferred by those with lower levels of education, whereas college grads fancy the elegant taper and pillar candles.

“IN THE PAST YEAR, HAVE YOU PURCHASED A ____ CANDLE?�

JAR VOTIVE PILLAR TAPER
Some HS 70% 38% 43% 30%
HS grad 69% 48% 43% 34%
Some college 70% 53% 46% 39%
College grad+ 66% 51% 54% 50%
Source: Unity Marketing
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