Festive lights and comfort - especially in the dark season, candles create an atmospheric atmosphere in many households. Demand has been booming since the beginning of the corona pandemic because many people want to make themselves comfortable and beautify their homes. Times of crisis are usually good times for the candle industry, says Stefan Thomann from the European Candle Manufacturers Association.
Last year around 201,000 tons of candles were consumed in Germany. That was 20,000 tons more than in the previous year, as Thomann says. Last year, manufacturers sold candles worth around EUR 469 million to retailers and via online channels (previous year: EUR 385 million). But the industry is also facing headwinds from high raw material and energy prices. A lot of heat is needed to make candles because the material has to be melted or kept liquid for casting or pressing.
Paraffin prices have doubled
The candle manufacturer Richard Wenzel GmbH, for example, gets this
The biggest trend at the moment is sustainability, says Jaksch. The manufacturer is increasingly using rapeseed and olive wax from Europe in production. Tea lights of all kinds are also in great demand - especially since some customers use them as a supplement or alternative to electric light in times of high electricity costs.
Muted colors and new shapes are trendy
The company has been making candles for three generations. The family tradition goes back to the late 17th century, says owner Jörg Zengerle. The shortage of skilled workers is also a problem in his industry. "The fullest order books are useless if we don't have people to do the work," says the 59-year-old. Business used to be more seasonal, today it is more consistent and lasts almost the entire year. The industry has clearly benefited from the trend towards making oneself comfortable at home.
Without a wick, no candle burns
The matching wicks for the candle manufacturers come, for example, from the East Hessian company Schreiber GmbH. On around 150 machines, the company weaves around 430 kilometers of wicks for a wide variety of applications - from grave lights to altar candles, as managing director Carsten Staubach says. Almost 20 years ago, his family took over the company and turned it into a global supplier for the candle industry - the company, with twelve employees and an annual turnover of around one million euros, sells its wicks as far away as South Africa. Schreiber also recently benefited from the "homing" trend and increased sales, as Staubach says.
The main season for the industry is not the pre-Christmas period, but late summer, when comparatively few candles are burning in the households, but production is running at full speed. Because the trade has to be stocked with pillar and ball candles, stick, tapered, table and other candles in good time before autumn and especially the Advent season in order to be able to serve customer wishes. The new trends are then set every year in February at the Christmasworld trade fair in Frankfurt, which, as Thomann says, is the world's leading trade fair for seasonal festive decorations and decorations.
Candles against the energy crisis
Aside from table decorations and the Christmas spirit, many consumers are currently stocking up on candles in order to be prepared for possible power outages during the energy crisis, says Jaksch from the Richard Wenzel company. He himself has also been asked by friends whether it makes sense to have candles ready in case of an emergency.
On the other hand, the industry thinks little of the Internet hype surrounding tealight stoves, some of which were advertised as an allegedly inexpensive alternative and also called firefighters into action. Not only do they have a low heat output, they can also become a hazard if the safety rules are not observed, says Thomann.