Trends move in a margin direction

Shift towards RYO in tobacco category should spell more accessories sales for c-store retailers

Tobacco accessories
Accessories are in growth, presenting Scotland’s c-store retailers with the chance to pick up high-margin sales.

VALUE has been the key trend driving shopper behaviour in the tobacco category for some time now – and it has had a knock-on effect for accessories.

An increase in the proportion of adult smokers choosing roll your own has coincided with year-on-year growth for tobacco accessories in Scotland.

According to IRI MarketPlace data from 20 February 2022, the tobacco accessories category in Scotland is currently worth £30 million, up 3.4% year on year.

Gavin Anderson, sales and marketing director at Republic Technologies Ltd, said: “Cash conscious shoppers are turning to more affordable RYO products as a way of saving money, versus factory made cigarettes.

“The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought more shoppers than ever to local convenience stores, as people chose to stay local and minimise supermarket visits.
“This gave retailers an even bigger opportunity to drive visibility of margin-boosting tobacco accessories products.”

In Anderson’s view, Republic Technologies brands, such as Swan, Zig-Zag and OCB, are the kind of product that retailers should be stocking, due to their “considerable history” in the category and reputation for quality and value.

“This, combined with our team’s valuable expertise in the category, means that we are well placed to add real value to convenience retailers,” he said.

The importance of stocking up on brands that communicate quality and value to consumers was also highlighted by Tom Gully, consumer marketing manager UK at Imperial Tobacco – the firm behind Rizla.

Gully said the consumer drive towards value “remains a big factor” in tobacco purchasing decisions.

“Imperial is well placed to help retailers tap into this trend with more brands in the economy RYO segment than any other tobacco manufacturer,” he said.

The increasing shift towards roll your own creates opportunities for retailers to drive accessories growth. Gully suggested a broad range that includes the latest innovation is the way to make the most of this.

“In order to tap into this trend and take advantage of the incremental sales on offer, retailers should make sure they’re stocked at all times of filters, paper, lighters and other flavour-related innovations like Rizla Flavour Cards and Rizla Polar Blast Crushball filters, to cater for the rising number of consumers buying into the RYO segment.

“A few years ago, we launched our Rizla Flavour Infusions range, which has been extremely well received by both the trade and consumers.

“Rizla Infusions comprise flavour cards that can be used with traditional factory-made cigarettes or roll-your-own tobacco products,” he said.

Flavour cards aren’t the only piece of Imperial innovation that Gully reckons retailers should consider including in their accessories range.

He also highlighted combi-packs as an area that is “proving popular” with value-focused shoppers – suggesting packs such as Rizla Silver Kingsize Combi, which offer papers and tips together, offer adult smokers “the ultimate in convenience.”