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Air Care: Figures and trends of a growing market that privileges candles and reed diffusers

Air Care: Figures and trends of a growing market that privileges candles and reed diffusers

29 December 2020

Air care products help to live better. Here are some noteworthy figures and trend insights about this fast-growing sector.

The world pandemic has not stopped the fragrance industry and, in particular, the ambient scenting one which year to date has launched more than 3,000 new products (3,260 are those reviewed by Mintel, the renowned market research firm).
Going more specifically into the analysis of available data, it emerges that, in the first six months of 2020, an equal amount of air care products entered the market by comparison with those introduced in the same period of the previous year, and a higher number ­–13% more– than those launched in the first semester of 2018.
Growing figures in the room fragrance diffusers field were also recently detected by The New York Times which informed about the boom of home candles, underscoring how the home fragrance market has tripled since the beginning of Covid-19 and onwards.
Even a recent global report by Trusted Business Insights, the market research aggregator, attests the newfound passion for candles and fragrance diffusers, and it confirms too that candle and diffuser shopping will mainly establish itself on the Internet: online distribution should record an annual growth of 9.2% from 2021 through 2026.

How they look like and what's inside them
Out of the products launched in the last six months, and as per Mintel GNPD (Global New Products Database) records, 34.5% are labeled “botanical/herbal,” about 38% “ethical/sustainable,” about 13% “aromatherapy”, about 1.4% “odor neutralizing,” and about 8.5% “premium.”
There are many ambient scenting systems, and manifold fragrances and release methods which adapt to the needs of the space and the person. Among the most effective traditional systems, you will find stick diffusers, spray air fresheners, perfumed candles, pots with scented liquid. But even this market is no stranger to technological innovation, and there are new diffusers that are activated via Bluetooth, by apps and devices such as Alexa.
An example is Candle Touch, the “connected candle,” which allows you to light the wick remotely through the app and is made with the traditional block of plant-based wax. The ignition takes place via a resistance that is powered by a rechargeable battery integrated into the base. A Bluetooth chip enables remote management and the whole system can be controlled with an Android or iOS app (by iPhone and iPad), through which it is possible to handle up to ten Candle Touch candles.

Fresh and clean smell
If fragrance spreading devices are growing and innovating, the new olfactory trend seems instead to be oriented towards the deep and ancient pleasure of seeking out emotions and peacefulness in enjoying the fragrances that smell good, and are able to transform our living spaces into a healthy and luxurious place, and always in balance with nature. Outlining a comfort zone in which to get in touch with themselves is one of the primary objectives.
It is therefore no coincidence that the emblematic essence of the trend described above has recently been identified in the lavender (from the Latin verb “to wash,” demonstrating its wide household use for deodorizing and perfuming purposes), whose declinations have just been at the center of a focus on world perfumery trends at Pitti Fragranze (which this year took place entirely online).
Driven by the slogan “fresh and clean,” as never before, today the smell of clean is an opportunity for enhancement. Indeed, the scent of a brand or a hygienic place can effectively accentuate also the special management of cleaning and sanitizing.
The data mined from the Mintel research make us immediately understand what are people wishes across the global market.
18% of US consumers tell they care about the air quality in their home (Aircare ­– USA, January 2020), while 42% of Brazilian adults specifically buy products associated with the values they believe in, and 89% of Brazilian consumers say they prefer to be associated with companies and brands that respect their own values.
And while a third of Chinese adults are interested in air care products made by their favorite brands, UK value sales of air care products have increased by 1.5% in 2020, reaching 504 million pounds. After two years of decline in sales, we are now witnessing a reversal trend in the sign of a significant increment in premium formats usage, like scented candles and reed diffusers, compared with 2019.

When to launch a new product
Considering the period 2017-2019, the fourth year quarter is invariably the one with the highest quantity of launches of home fragrances and, in particular, of candles and reed diffusers. As it happens as well in time of Covid, people spend more time at home during the cold season, and thus the opportunities of use increase. Hence, if there is a product to be introduced to the market for the winter months, this is undoubtedly the home fragrance.
Actually, in the fourth quarter of the last three years, launches were between 8.5% and 24% higher than the year average (between 8.7% and 26% higher than the average of the remaining quarters of the year).
L Brands, SC Johnson & Son, Reckitt Benckiser, Newell Brands, Procter & Gamble, S.T. Corporation, George Weston Ltd., Wax Lyrical, Rituals Cosmetics are among the most active companies, with the highest volume of new products which entered the global market in the last three years. Truth is that all these major companies combined have proposed less than 50% of the total launches of candles and reed diffusers. It can certainly be said that this is an “open” sector offering opportunities even to minor brands in terms of market coverage. As evidence of it, another figure tells us that, from January 2017 through December 2019, more than 10,000 new ambient scenting products in the form of candles and reed diffusers were introduced to the market.

Superior quality wins
In general, when operating in scenarios of this sort, there is regularly room for higher quality products which, due to their distinctive characteristics, attract the attention of a niche that “stands out.” In this case, it is an audience that recognizes the brand quality, is willing to pay a premium price for it and to maintain a relatively high level of loyalty.
Out of the total number of launches on the last three years, 35% of those in the “mass market segment” were candles, and just over 6% were reed diffusers (in other words, a reed diffuser is launched every 5-6 candles). Conversely, in the “prestige segment,” it is estimated that the ratio is more favorable to reed diffusers which are believed to provide a thicker scent than perfumed candles, and to have a controlled release rate of the fragrance. Unlike candles, this type of diffusers ­–functional and at the same time aesthetically pleasing, and a full-fledged furnishing accessory– ­ are more versatile because they are flameless and, although missing the intense fascination of the fire flames light, constitute a safe alternative to scented candles.
As evidence of the reported data and focusing them on the pandemic period we are still experiencing, according to the Financial Times, candle sales in the British department store chain Selfridges have increased by 54% since the start of the first lockdown, while Net-a-Porter (the online luxury fashion retailer) has registered a 130% year-over-year increment since the lockdown began on last March.
To conclude this quick overview of an industry knowing no crisis, a final figure inferred from the Trusted Business Insights report confirms that the room fragrance diffusers worldwide market is growing at a rapid pace, also and precisely because of the number of new products. The ongoing trend highlights how the air care market can easily reach 7,96 USD billion within five years, with a 13% boost over the last year.


Although the information contained in this document is presented in good faith and believed to be correct, Moellhausen makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information. This document is provided on an “as is” basis. No representations or warranties, either express or implied, of fitness for a particular purpose are made herein with respect to information or products to which information refers. Moellhausen shall not be liable for any irresponsible, improper or illegal use, direct or indirect, of the information or the products represented herein and it shall not be liable for any damage arising from any use in connection therewith. 
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