Value remains key to tobacco

Manufacturers react to demand for economy

JPS Players Benson & Hedges
Imperial Tobacco and JTI have both bolstered their low-price portfolio.

VALUE is the top trend across tobacco in 2022 as consumers seek out affordable brands and manufacturers react accordingly.

There is now effectively an even split between factory-made cigarettes and roll your own, with market shares of 52% and 48% respectively, which in itself speaks to consumers changing habits in pursuit of value pricing.

Even within roll your own, it’s the brands at the economy end of the price list that are proving most popular with existing adult smokers.

Tom Gully, head of consumer marketing UK & Ireland at Imperial Tobacco said that the firm has seen “continued movement” towards “low priced propositions.”

“As part of this shift, the lower price tiers now account for the majority of sales, with the sub-economy segment making up 63% share of FMC, and the economy segment accounting for 56% of RYO, with these value segments growing at 3% and 5% year-on-year,” he said.

According to Gully, the transition towards lower priced products is a trend that retailers should ensure they’re catering for – and he highlighted some of the Imperial NPD that can help in this regard.

“Imperial is well placed to help retailers tap into this trend with its brands accounting for 47% of sales within the economy RYO segment, more than any other tobacco manufacturer.

“Our new Players JPS Easy Rolling Tobacco is a great example of what retailers should be stocking to cater for these increasingly value savvy shoppers.

“The range is available to buy in 30g and 50g and priced at £13.65 and £22.35, and each pouch includes a set of quality rolling papers.

“Another RYO brand that is a must-stock for any retailers tapping into the value trend is Riverstone.

“The range was recently repositioned to sit within the rising economy RYO segment alongside Players JPS, with its 30g and 50g pouches also priced at £13.65 and £22.35 and including both papers and filters for the ultimate convenience.”

At JTI UK, sales director Gemma Bateson also named value as a top consideration for existing adult smokers.

“Value tobacco continues to be a key trend for 2022, with 80.7% of all sales volumes currently in the value or ultra-value ready-made cigarette or RYO sector,” she said.

As the shift to value propositions has taken place, JTI has reacted, Bateson said, broadening its offer at the lower end of the price spectrum.

“Over the last two years we have worked hard to bring out products that tap into growing demand for value tobacco – from Sterling Rolling Tobacco Essential through to the new Benson & Hedges Rolling and new RMC range – Mayfair Silver,” she said.

Launched in May, Benson & Hedges Blue Rolling and Mayfair Silver are the latest ‘ultra value’ variants and feature the lowest recommended retail prices from JTI – and Bateson suggested Scotland’s retailers would do well to stock up.

“By offering iconic brands like Mayfair Silver and Benson & Hedges at new ultra-low prices, retailers can capitalise on both Mayfair Silver and Benson & Hedges Rolling’s brand heritage, with products that also offer a competitive price point,” she said.