WHAT are the key aspects of the cigars market as we approach the holiday season in 2013? For our Cigars Market Snapshot we asked some of the major players
COMMERCIAL life hasn’t been easy in the cigar category for some time but that doesn’t mean it can’t make a serious contribution to retailers sales and profit.
Major cigar player Scandinavian Tobacco Group, the company behind Café Crème and Henri Wintermans says the UK cigar category has an overall value of £254m and presents good opportunities.
Alan Graham, STG UK’s head of marketing said today’s cigar users are looking primarily for two things, reassurance from big brands of product quality and value for money. He argued the firm’s best-selling range delivered reassurance and it showed in its market performance
“Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, our Café Crème range is a great example of this, with four of its variants in the top 20 leading cigars,” he said. “These include Café Crème Blue, Café Crème Original, Café Crème Filter Arome and Café Crème Express Blue, which are positioned at No.1, No.4, No.7 and No.13 respectively, with them all benefitting from the expertise and heritage associated with the Café Crème brand.
“Providing value for money is now essential in almost every tobacco category. Our VFM cigar range, Moments, is designed to meet the needs of cash-conscious consumers with its low price point. The range is available in two variants, Moments Original and Moments Blue at an RRP of £3.58. Moments Blue in particular has been incredibly popular with the trade and has not only taken up position as the sixth-leading miniature cigar since its launch, but is now positioned as the ninth-leading cigar in the total market.
“The most important thing Scottish retailers can do to increase their cigar sales is to stock a range of the best-selling cigars, in all size segments and price bands and take the time to speak to their customers and understand what products they’re looking for,” he said.
At tobacco firm JTI, brand owner of Hamlet, head of communications Jeremy Blackburn stressed that the holiday season brings leisure and celebrations that provide opportunities for adult smokers to have a cigar.
“In December 2012, cigar sales grew 6.2% versus the previous month with over 40m sold in one month alone, generating £25m in sales value,” he said.
“Hamlet Miniatures outperformed the total cigar market, growing sales by 6.8% versus the previous month .
“For retailers, it’s all about ensuring that they are offering the right range of cigars to capitalise on seasonal profit opportunities.
“Adult cigar smokers are very brand loyal, so choice and availability are key to driving sales over the festive season. Retailers should be looking to stock up now on a comprehensive range of cigars, covering the most popular formats and brands, including our new Hamlet Miniature 10s limited-edition tins.
“By stocking the right brands and keeping up with key category trends, retailers can ensure they don’t miss out on their share of the profits. They should stock the most popular cigar formats, including miniatures, and cater for existing adult smokers’ growing demand for greater choice and convenience,” Blackburn said.