Negative Reviews For Scented Candles Rising Alongside COVID-19 Spikes

Normally, negative reviews of scented candles would not make the news. However, we live in unusual times! And loss of smell is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. Recently, a researcher found a link between an increase in the negative reviews of scented candles and the rise in COVID-19 cases.

One of the first symptoms of COVID-19 is the loss of smell and taste.


These senses usually come back after a person recovers. But, some people report that their sense of smell and taste is altered or does not return. When you get a cold, you can lose your sense of smell due to excess mucus in your nose. But COVID-19 is different.

Doctors think COVID-19 might attack cells in the nose.


Sandeep Robert Datta told Today:

"We think that in the people who have longer lasting anosmia, maybe the long-term lack of support from these (support) cells actually causes the sensory neurons to die. [...] The sensory neurons have to be regenerated."

The loss of smell seems to have shown up in the reviews of Amazon's three most popular candles.

Kate Petrova, who posted the data, found a sharp difference in the ratings as COVID-19 cases increased. She told The Independent:

“Between January 2017 and January 2020, the average rating stayed around 4.3/5, but there was a sharp drop between January and November 2020.

“Could it be because of the Covid-related loss of smell? To investigate, I plotted the reviews of the three most popular unscented candles on Amazon, and the difference was quite striking.”

In 2020, customers have been less satisfied with scented candles.

Unscented candles did not see the same drop in satisfaction. Specifically, there were more negative reviews of scented candles that complained that the candles had no scent. Less than 2% of reviews complained about the lack of scent in January. In November, the complaints rose to 6%.

Candle companies might be getting the short end of the stick here.


Many of the poor reviews may be unfair. The lack of scent might be because of COVID-19 and not the candle's fault. Petrova recommends:

"If you are doing any virtual Black Friday shopping today, and if you still have your sense of smell, maybe buy a scented candle and leave a nice review.

"And no, I don’t work for a candle company. I just like looking at data."

h/t: The Independent

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