Millions board the e-cig train

Growing numbers want simple options

THE vaping category has hardly been around for a decade, but it has enjoyed massive growth in that time.

According to figures provided by e-cigarette brand Blu, the vaping category is estimated to be worth £1.4bn across online and vape stores and traditional retail outlets. 

The online nature of many vape sales may make it difficult to pin down an accurate figure for the true scale of vaping in Britain – but there is no question it is huge and still growing.

Chris Street, head of trade marketing at Blu UK, said that with more than 3.2 million vapers in the UK – a figure which is expected to rise – there are significant benefits on offer for retailers to cash in on.

“Currently only a minority of vape sales stem from traditional retail outlets, suggesting a real growth opportunity for retailers prepared to invest in upskilling their staff and educating them on the category,” he said.

Street highlighted research carried out by Ecigintelligence, which revealed that 70% of vape sales stem from online and specialist vaping shops, as evidence that there is scope for convenience to do far more with the category.

The relationship between convenience retailers and their customers is one which Street said provides an opportunity for stores.

More and more shoppers – including the so-called ‘dualists’, who both smoke and vape – are seeking out simple vaping solutions and may be in need of guidance, according to Street.

“The growing number of dedicated vapers and dualists  are increasingly seeking out simple solutions amongst the array of different devices now on offer. 

“If we look to the USA, the biggest vaping market, pod mod systems are a key growth category, highlighting the big sales potential for them here in the UK,” he said.

Where specialist shops may offer a seemingly never-ending variety of devices, brands and flavours, convenience stores offering simple vaping solutions could scoop up some high-margin sales.

Street explained that within vaping, the ‘pod mod’ systems – the kind of vapes that use single-use disposable e-liquid pods – are the kind of simple solution that many shoppers crave.

“This, combined with the marketing support that pod mods have been receiving, including our latest Myblu marketing campaign, means that vapers and smokers are more aware of these innovations and curious to try them,” he said.

For retailers to capitalise on this trend, Street said they should ensure staff are aware of different products and terminology, so that they are able to steer customers in the right direction.

“This will allow you to advise customers on what products are right for them and help them switch. Engaging with customers will also help you tailor your range,” he said.

And unlike in the tobacco category, retailers don’t need to solely rely on staff to support vaping sales, they can also let POS do some of the work – as Street explained: “You can display, advertise and promote vaping products in store. 

“Dynamic displays and eye-catching point of sale will help  to drive visibility and grab the attention of shoppers as soon as they walk through your door.”


Street explained that within vaping, the ‘pod mod’ systems – the kind of vapes that use single-use disposable e-liquid pods – are the kind of simple solution that many shoppers crave.


There are around 3.2m vapers in the UK.


Vapers spend an average of £35 per month on vape products.


Vape shops and online stores account for 70% of vaping sales.


Two in five smokers have never tried vaping.


Around 8.7% of UK adults vape.

– Figures provided by Blu.