Ecigarettes, vaping devices and e liquids have taken a huge leap forwards in the last few years, and the latest batch of Next Generation Products created to help smokers quit the habit are a long way on from the first generation of vape products that came to prominence in the early 2000’s.
When the UK vape market started, various ‘pure vape’ companies were making the running, importing products from China, where e cigarettes were invented, with an array of different devices and delivery systems and e liquids of varying quality, flavours and nicotine levels.
Vaping caught on among smokers of all ages trying to kick the habit. It became particularly popular among younger consumers, spawning a distinctly ‘indie’ vaping scene, with vaping festivals and local vape shops springing up across the country, many set up by enthusiasts and catering for enthusiasts, selling products distributed largely outside established tobacco channels.
Some 45,000 vaping products were registered here before the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in 2017. A lot have since disappeared and the UK vaping market has become regulated. Meanwhile specialist e-liquid suppliers like Vape Dinner Lady are still coming up with exciting, funky flavours like the new Tuck Shop range.
In another major change, on the retail side the wholesalers and convenience retailers on one hand, and the multiple supermarkets on the other have come into the market and are grasping the vaping opportunity and taking an increasing share of sales from the independent vape shops.
Meanwhile the big tobacco companies have been actively adding Next Generation Vaping products to their offering alongside the traditional tobacco products their worldwide businesses are built on, and build Next Generation brands.
And most recently we’ve seen the arrival of Juul, a Silicon Valley start up which has sprung up outside the tobacco industry and expanded fast in the US, grabbing over 70% market share. Launched here in July, in the last few weeks they have won a Sainsbury’s listing.
With so much happening, all these exciting products on offer and demand for vaping products growing rapidly, we talk to some of the leading players in the category, starting with the tobacco companies.
Duncan Cunningham is Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Imperial Brands:
“The number of vapers in the UK is expected to continue to rise, which is no surprise when you consider the significant lifestyle and cost benefits compared to traditional tobacco. Only a minority of vape sales currently stem from traditional retail outlets, pointing to a real growth opportunity for wholesalers and retailers who are prepared to upskill and invest in the category.”
Imperial Brands have substantially enhanced their vaping capabilities in 2018 by buying Nerudia and have made some significant strides with their eliquid range, including the launch of the improved Tobacco flavour for their blu e-liquid, which is set to arrive imminently with an ‘enhanced flavour’ flash on its packaging.
Imperial Brands has also introduced a number of other major product developments this year. Its new myblupod mod device has grown extensively in distribution and availability since its launch in 2018, appealing to existing vapers looking for a second device, vape/tobacco dualists and smokers looking to switch. It combines a high-performance vaporiser with hassle-free Liquidpods so consumers can switch between flavours in seconds via a simple one-step ‘click and go’ system. In the US – the biggest vaping market – pod systems are a key growth category, highlighting further opportunities for growth here.
myblu is the first widely-available pod mod device to feature Nicotine Salts (nicsalts), which closely resemble the way nicotine is found in the tobacco leaf in its natural state. Vaping a myblu Intense Liquidpod results in nicotine being absorbed into the body faster than normal e-liquids, closely replicating the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette, and hence appealing for adult smokers looking to switch for the first time, or those who have tried vaping and haven’t been completely convinced.
Another recent addition to the blu portfolio is blu ACE, which brings the popular MOD experience to the mass market thanks to its superior sub-ohm performance, stronger vapour production and bigger tank than its closest competitors. Featuring a 0.6 sub-ohm atomiser head and adjustable airflow, blu ACE allows vapers to tweak and personalise the way they inhale, meaning this advanced sub-ohm system can generate bigger, smoother vapour than any other product in the blu portfolio. blu offers a wide range of traditional tobacco, plus sweet and savoury e-liquid flavours (13) in a variety of nicotine strengths, from 1.6% (approx. 18mg) to zero nic.
Traditional tobacco companies JTI and BAT are also active in the vaping market. BAT has 41% value share of vaping sales in the traditional tobacco retail channel through its Vype, 10 Motives and Cirro ranges. BAT’s offering includes Cirro, the UK’s favourite eLiquid, 10Motives, the UK’s bestselling cigalike product, and Vype, which comes top in research as the UK’s most trusted vaper brand. BAT’s latest launch is the Vype ePen3 device range, including the Vype ePen 3 and eLiquid pods.
JTI UK also see a huge opportunity for retailers investing in this growing category, says Ross Hennessy, the company’s Head of Sales:
“The vaping category is currently worth £177 million in traditional retail outlets in the UK and the future is bright, with 11.5% growth in the last year. As consumer demand for vaping grows, we’re urging retailers should display their products prominently in store to maximise potential sales, keeping a clear and tidy vaping display to ensure customers are aware of the choice and range available.”
Ross quotes figures showing that capsule and refillable products are currently the fastest growing devices in vaping, and are now used by 76% of adult vapers that use refillable devices, 72% of whom use their device daily.
JTI’s Logic PRO is the UK’s No.1 capsule vaping brand and winner of the 2018 ‘Product of the Year’ award, and an update is now available, the next generation Logic PRO 2. JTI’s Logic LQD range offers the three most popular vaping liquid flavours, fruit (30%), menthol (22%) and tobacco (19%).
In another development Philip Morris International has launched the Next Generation of its IQOS, the world’s leading Heated Tobacco Product, to accelerate the switch to smoke-free alternatives and to create a better world for smokers.
The new iterations were launched in Tokyo, Japan, the country considered the birthplace of IQOS.
“Our dream was to create a better alternative for smokers, and IQOS has made this dream a reality; it’s a revolution for the 1.1 billion people who smoke,” says André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s CEO. “IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI mark another step toward convincing all men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to smoke-free alternatives. “
IQOS produces an aerosol that contains on average 90% lower levels of harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke. PMI’s evidence indicates that switching completely to IQOS presents less risk of harm than continued smoking. Evidence also shows IQOS does not negatively affect indoor air quality. On average, 70 to 80 percent of IQOS users have quit cigarettes. PMI has filed a Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application (MRTPA) for IQOS with the U.S. FDA. As of September 30, PMI estimates that nearly 6 million adult smokers around the world have stopped smoking and switched to PMI’s heated-tobacco product, which is currently available for sale in 43 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.
STILL PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR ‘INDIES’
The big tobacco companies have come into the market and the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has set down rules that suppliers have to follow. But the vape market still offers plenty of exciting opportunities for independent suppliers with a strong quality proposition, such as e-liquid flavour experts Vape Dinner Lady. Mo Patel, founder of Vape Dinner Lady tells his story:
“Where vaping was once considered “underground” or niche, it is now increasingly accepted and welcomed within the mainstream. Our Vape Dinner Lady liquids are now available at high street retailers such as Asda and Sainsburys, alongside thousands of independents globally.”
Mo Patel says wholesalers should beware of selling inferior imported eliquids, which don’t deliver on flavour quality or enjoyment: “Our consumers are incredibly loyal and will go out of their way to seek us out because they’ve got used to a premium vaping experience. “
Now constituting 46% of product sales globally, 50/50 liquids contain an equal ratio of the key ingredients, VG (Vegetable Glycerin) and PG (Propylene Glycol), a blend especially suited for beginners who have swapped smoking for vaping.
Dinner Lady’s unique 50/50 blends are bursting with flavour yet produce more discreet vaping clouds than formulations higher in PG which deliver the “throat hit” which many ex-smokers desire. They can also be used in almost all types of vaping devices, making the transition to vaping from smoking much easier for consumers.
Vape Dinner Lady’s most successful product launch to date is the new Tuck Shop range of flavours, inspired by retro British sweet treats, comprising Apple Sours, Watermelon Slices, Lemon Sherbets, Bubble Trouble and Sweet Fusion.
Vape Dinner Lady have also just launched their own range of premium quality Cannabidiol (CBD products in some of their most popular flavours. “CBD is the next “boom” segment in vaping,” Mo predicts, and will emerge as a huge growth industry.”
In other vaping news Double Drip, the high VG e-liquid brand, has launched its first nic salts range. Brett Horth, Vapouriz/Double Drip CEO says:
“With the traditional January stop smoking period fast approaching, this is a prudent time to stock up on nic salts. They deliver nicotine to the blood stream far more quickly than standard nicotine-containing e-liquids.“
Double Drip Nic Salts are available with two nicotine strengths, 10mg and 20 mg, and seven flavour variants, Super Berry Sherbet, Crystal Mist, Menthol Mist, Lemon Sherbet, Cherry Bakewell, Raspberry Sherbet and Mango Raspberry Ice Cream.
And finally in a recent major development, Juul Labs, a US start up from outside the tobacco industry which is now America’s best selling vaping company, has launched its Juul brand in the UK. Research by Centre for Substance Use Research shows 64% of US-based adult smokers who have tried JUUL now no longer smoke.
Juul’s starter kits, which include the JUUL device, USB Docking Station and 4 flavours – Golden Tobacco, Glacier Mint, Mango Nectar and Royal Crème, come with an RRP of £29.99. Four pod refill packs, with an RRP of £9.99, are available in Golden Tobacco, Glacier Mint, Mango Nectar, Royal Crème and additional flavour Apple Orchard. JUUL recently confirmed a deal to supply its vaping products to all Sainsbury’s stores.