Scented Candles Are “An Unexpected Victim Of The Pandemic”—Negative Reviews Spiked After COVID Breakout

COVID-19 has caused a lot of strife since the virus broke out worldwide earlier this year. One unexpected effect from COVID-19 has been the digital firestorm against scented candles manufacturers. 

Kate Petrova—a research assistant in the Harvard Study of Adult Development—saw a tweet about people complaining on Yankee Candle’s website. The complaints pointed to a trend: people weren’t able to smell the candles. 

So Petrova investigated and found a connection between COVID-19 and negative scented candle reviews. She pulled data and wrapped it all up in a fascinating tweet. 

In follow-up tweets, Petrova went on to explain how she came to her conclusions. Her first step was downloading a random subsample of U.S.-based Amazon reviews.

Next, she plotted out the reviews to see if they were related to one of COVID-19’s most common symptoms: loss of smell.

She quickly noticed that since the beginning of 2020, customer satisfaction rates for scented candles were dropping at faster rates than unscented candles.

Good data to go off of, but Petrova wanted to dive deeper. So she dug into the reviews and created a function that flagged all reviews that mentioned lack of scent.

And the results are really interesting.

Petrova even got one Twitter user to look into similar data in the U.K.

Lesson learned: if you can’t smell a scented candle, get tested for COVID-19.

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