September 7, 2020
Leading podmod manufacturer JUUL is to lose more than half of its international workforce and is “exploring exiting” a range of markets in Europe as well as the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.
Earlier this year JUUL cut its workforce from around 3,000 to 2,200 and, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal, the firm now aims to reduce this further to 1,000. While the report also suggested that JUUL could pull out of up to 11 markets, it is understood that the company’s presence in the UK is secure.
A statement from the company released last week highlights the frustration of the wider vaping industry which has had to battle increasing regulation and media coverage that, it says, puts smokers off transitioning to harm reduction products such as vape:
“Throughout this year and against a difficult external environment, we have continued to carefully evaluate how we allocate our resources, so we can execute on our long-term approach and control our future in an evolving category lacking in trust. Our category has endured even tougher conditions and it has seemingly become even easier to sell combustible cigarettes than vapor products.”
The coronavirus and related economic crisis has added extra pressure to the industry, JUUL says.
While further details have yet to be confirmed, the UK’s position as a key vaping market – alongside US and Canada – means JUUL’s presence, in some form, is likely to continue. According to IRI, JUUL was the number one UK vape brand overall and closed system by value sales (four weeks to 2 Aug).
Of the decision, the JUUL statement said: “None of these decisions are ever taken lightly, but they are the correct steps for the company to further secure the business and realise the historic opportunity before us”.