The World Candle Congress event is an opportunity to strengthen the ties of brotherhood for the benefit of the entire candle industry. The organizing associations, ALAFAVE, NCA and ECMA, embrace this occasion to exchange opinions on what is happening in each of the regions they represent. Francella Morera, Vice-president of ALAFAVE, highlights the impact that the raw material’s price increase has had in Latin America. “The closure of paraffin manufacturers, and ports due to the coronavirus outbreaks, has strongly affected the supply of this raw material in our region.”
Chris Rakita, president of the NCA, reports that despite the increases in raw materials’ price, the sales in the United States remain strong and have normalized to single-digit growth. “In 2021, the unit price of candles at the point of sale increased by 13% compared to the previous year, motivated by an increase in consumption and the high costs of raw materials.”
Miquel Roura, ECMA Director, defines the current candle market as “perplexing” and mentions that factories in Europe are overwhelmed with orders. “It seems counterintuitive that raw material prices are skyrocketing and yet sales and demand continue to rise, but we believe that candles from Asia are no longer competitive in Europe due to rising freight prices that went from €1,800 per container in 2020 to €16,000 in the year 2021-22”.
Both Rakita and Roura emphasize that the pandemic came to redefine candle consumption patterns by increasing their use. “Consumers rediscovered the emotional benefits of candles during the lock-down and this has generated an increase in consumption,” says Rakita.
They both agree that the remaining challenge is the great uncertainty created by the continuous rise in prices on all raw materials and supply chains that have not yet been recovered. “The drama prevails in the price increases we give to our products which do not support the continuous increases in raw materials and supplies. This ends up affecting our margins,” explains Roura. Challenged with the same scenario, Morera asks his fellow candle manufacturers to lead their companies understanding that the candle sector is rapidly transforming and “a lot of heart and commitment is required to operate in these conditions.”
Despite the challenges, Rakita is optimistic and reports that in the latest MINTEL study, the category of air fresheners, in which candles are found, shows growth of 2-3% until 2025.
The NCA Trade Committee has achieved a five-year extension on the import tariffs on Chinese candles. “It is true that we still have some unfavorable issues, but there are also opportunities; manufacturers should continue to reduce packaging materials and always keep sustainability and transparency in the forefront of development efforts.”
Innovation is the key component that Roura is betting on for the immediate future. “We have to improve the quality of our candles, do research with alternative raw materials and take advantage of the opportunity we have to innovate in shapes, colors, fragrances, fashion trends, because they all are elements that give purchasing power.”
To conclude, the three directors showed their enthusiasm to see each other again in a face-to-face event. “We have many common issues with our colleagues from ALAFAVE and ECMA and dealing with them together makes us stronger. Just as we did with the last scientific study, which yielded very interesting data in which we managed to fight the negative press about our products. We are excited to share with everyone in this event,” said Rakita.
The industry is rapidly transforming and we must learn to operate under these conditions
Consumers rediscovered the emotional benefits of candles during confinement
We must do research and take advantage of the innovation opportunities that candles offer