Choice and innovation driving sales of tobacco accessories in cash & carries says republic technologies

New product development and an increased focus on merchandising is driving growth in the UK tobacco accessories market, according to Republic Technologies. Consumers are now demanding more from the category – now worth £258.9m*1 – with increasing pressure on suppliers to innovate to make their mark.

“The tobacco accessories market has seen YOY growth of 1.6%*1, with rolling papers leading the way with 6.4% growth, and filters with 5.1% growth,*1” says Gavin Anderson, General Sales Manager at Republic Technologies.

“It’s crucial that suppliers maximise this opportunity by working with cash & carries and wholesalers to understand shoppers’ needs and, in turn, to enable cash & carries and wholesalers to drive sales of tobacco accessories in-depot.

“We have recognised the need for greater choice with NPD that taps into consumer trends, including Swan Ultra Slim, the thinnest ever Swan filter and a premium quality product aimed at smokers; Swan ‘Eco’ filters, the most environmentally friendly Swan product ever; Swan Kingsize Cigarette Tubes, appealing to cash-conscious consumers looking for an alternative to readymade cigarettes, and OCB Virgin Slim & Tips, for consumers looking for a less refined paper and a softer smoke.”

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In March, Republic Technologies announced a major overhaul for its matches’ range, including new packaging, and a category-boosting extension for its iconic Swan brand. In addition to modernising core brands to appeal to a broader, younger audience, the move marks a commitment to sustainability and the increased demand for eco-friendly matches, following the removal of Strike Anywhere match formats from the range.

The relaunch of the matches range includes:

• The modernisation of the iconic Swan Vestas brand with a more contemporary image and a new, minimalist back of pack design, featuring impactful sustainability messaging

• Introduction of a pocket-sized Swan match, with a vibrant new colour scheme for additional shelf standout

• A celebrity chef partnership with Tom Kerridge for new-look Cook’s Matches, including a collection of delicious and inspiring back of pack recipes for today’s modern ‘foodie’ era

• A new pack design for ‘Extra Long’ Bryant and May matches, reinforcing the product’s positioning as ideal for lighting candles, open fires, log burners and BBQs, with new back of pack imagery reflecting key usage occasions and vibrant outer trays for better standout on shelf

• Modernisation of Ship Matches, with a simplified, but striking design and more prominence given to ‘Ship’ branding

• A major consumer PR and marketing programme including:

– A national consumer survey

– Social media support including exciting culinary competitions

– Advertising in leading cookery titles, Olive and Delicious

– Sponsorship of the food and lifestyle sections of S Magazine – a supplement of the Sunday Express – across print and digital

“The relaunch of our matches range is one of the biggest initiatives to be seen in the UK’s £23+ million*2 matches market for decades, re-energising a category where sales have been declining and both innovation and creativity had diminished,” says Anderson.

“This comprehensive move involving some of Britain’s best-known match brands will reinvigorate the category, enabling cash & carries and wholesalers to boost profits by aligning specific match brands to usage occasions.”


To make the most of this category, it’s vital that cash & carries stock the right range of tobacco accessories and merchandise them accordingly to see the best results. Republic Technologies continues to work closely with its key cash & carry / wholesale partners to drive sales of tobacco accessories in depot, including creating branded bays and displays, and taking a category approach to the product range offered.

“Our sales team offers expertise and crosschannel category insight to our trading partners, and we’re committed to working with our customers to drive growth within the tobacco accessories category,” Anderson concludes.

Republic Technologies also offers the following top tips for cash & carries to maximise the opportunity from tobacco accessories:

• Stock a wide selection of products including core range filters, papers, matches and lighters, as well as the latest NPD.

• Pack formats play an important role; space saving packs such as vertical packs of Zig-Zag King Size papers (50% space saving compared to traditional King Size packs) and Poppell 45 pack lighters help retailers to merchandise more effectively, while pack formats such as Swan Slim Pop-a-Tip Filters offer a convenient alternative (vs Swan Slim Loose Filters) for on-the-go consumers.

• Dual-siting non-restricted products (e.g. lighters) outside of the tobacco room will also help to drive sales across tobacco accessories in-depot.

*1 IRI £Sales 52 wk MAT to 25 March 2018

*2 Republic Technologies estimate based on import figures


Tel: 01494 492230