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Recent Mintel Report Cites Lower-Cost Options and Marketing Woes as Key ChallengesDespite major expansion during the 1990s, the U.S. candle market’s growth has been extinguished slightly since 2003. The market, estimated at $2.3 billion in 2006, has experienced success across all consumer groups, but lower-cost alternatives and lack of brand distinction continue to plague the category. Even though sales have declined by more than seven percent from 2005 to 2006, consumer usage has continued to soar. According to Mintel’s proprietary research, respondents who purchase candles rose from 2002 to 2006 from 64 percent to 77 percent. In addition, close to one third of consumers said that they purchase candles once per month or more often. With the accessibility of low-cost offerings in the candle category, consumers are saving money but manufacturers are not seeing major profit margins.