Taking stock of e-cigs

Vaping product range
Vaping is on the rise in the UK, with refillable brands like Blu and Logic both enjoying sales growth.

IT might be little more than ten years old, but the UK vaping market continues its stratospheric rise in popularity.

Producing no tar and containing no tobacco, e-cigarettes are estimated by some to be up to 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes, with a committee of MPs suggesting that the rules governing vaping should be relaxed.

All this spells an opportunity for retailers, with current category margins estimated at between 25-50%.

But, according to vaping brand Blu, traditional retailers are not fully capitalising the popularity of the category, with 70% of vaping sales coming from online or vape shops.

To try and recapture some of those sales, Duncan Cunningham, head of corporate and legal affairs at Blu, suggested that c-store retailers should improve their knowledge of the category and widen their range.

He said that this ‘retailer knowledge’ would prove particularly important with those looking to switch from tobacco to vaping, as (unlike specialist vape stores) traditional retailers usually have both tobacco and vape products.

Blu’s recent Nicsalts range is designed to appeal to those who are thinking of switching to vaping for the first time, offering an experience more similar to smoking a conventional cigarette.

• The opportunity offered by vaping was also highlighted by JTI, which pegs the category’s value in the UK at £177m, with a bright future following 11.5% growth in the last year.

Ross Jennessy, head of sales at JTI UK, said that within the vaping category “capsule and refillable products are currently the fastest growing devices,” and he urged retailers to get on board with the trend.

“Retailers can continue to tap into the growing refillable market in 2019 by stocking Logic LQD, which recently updated its e-liquid bottles with a new design and competitive RRP of £3.99,” he said.

Jennessy went on to offer some analysis of the key strengths and flavours that are performing especially well in UK stores, posting double digit growth.

“Lower strength e-liquids now account for over 29% of the segment, so the extension of JTI’s successful Logic LQD e-liquids earlier in 2018 with the launch of a lower strength (6mg) variant offers retailers a significant profit opportunity.

“According to the latest insights, the three most popular flavours are fruit (30%) followed by menthol (22%) and then tobacco (19%) — all of which are included in the Logic LQD and PRO flavour ranges,” he said.