November 26, 2020
As Ploom launched in the UK last month, Vape Business’s Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski took his chance to give the new device a try
So, it is finally here – JTI is first out of the blocks in providing a challenger to Philip Morris’s IQOS device.
JTI says its new product deals with some of the limitations of IQOS. It is easier to use and needs less cleaning than the IQOS device, for starters.
The unlimited number of puffs is also a significant improvement and compares more closely to traditional cigarettes.
Its 20 stick per use charge is double that of the entry level IQOS device. Yet – and this is a theme – IQOS has already reached that higher usage rate with both its IQOS 3 Duo and IQOS 2.4 Plus devices.
In fact, many of the benefits of IQOS has over Ploom currently can be attributed to the longer time the device has been available in the UK. So, yes Ploom launches with a berry menthol flavour for its EVO sticks, which IQOS doesn’t have. IQOS now has Sienna Caps, however, a capsule variant that brings a much-loved element of combustible smoking back into the heat not burn market.
But the deal maker – and where IQOS is streets ahead, in fact – is the wider distribution, particularly when it comes to HEET sticks. In many parts of the UK, HEETs are as common in stores as many brands of cigarettes.
Ploom, admittedly at the start of its journey and with much to recommend it, is available in just 30 stores at the time Vape Business goes to print, with that rising to 62 London stores as lockdown ends. While IQOS’s roll out has been pushed back somewhat by the limitations of the pandemic, its wider distribution will be the greatest challenge to Ploom gaining a foothold in this market.
The speed at which they can make EVO sticks ubiquitous will have a huge impact for Ploom hoping to transition away from cigarettes for good.
It sets us up for a fascinating 2021 in this emerging sub-category.