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Column: Bringing vape and wholesale together

July 5, 2021

( The Word Consultancy ) Bestway. Kenton Burchell

What role do wholesalers play in the continued growth of the vape and next generation nicotine product market? Kenton Burchell, group trading director at Bestway Wholesale, discusses the latest category trends and why Bestway could be the right vape partner for your business  

As tobacco consumption continues to decline, vape and next generation products will give an opportunity to replace lost profit and – to a lesser extent, lost sales – from the gantry. It is therefore a vital category for wholesalers like us.

At Bestway, we have recognised the key drivers and ensured we stock and market the leading brands in liquids, heat not burn, nicotine pouches and disposables.  We try to stay close to emerging trends and will always try and communicate those to our customers.

Pricemarked liquids have continued to drive sales, while nicotine pouches – led by JTI’s Nordic Spirit brand – have evolved into an important, pricemarked category too. Heat not burn, and in particular IQOS, continues to grow and we’ve more recently seen flavour extensions and new brands making their first steps into the market.

In both examples, two suppliers are driving the category, whether its JTI and Nordic Spirit or Philip Morris with IQOS and Heets. Both are strong examples of innovation delivering consumer benefits and solutions compared to traditional smoking (and therefore offsetting the declines in volume as consumers look for alternatives to traditional smoking).

The challenge has been the complexity of the market in terms of the sheer variety of products available and its evolution over recent years, often driven by technology and innovation.  Winning products tend to develop a valuable brand and one example – not a new launch but a brand that is becoming an established market leader – is Edge liquids. Edge is quality product, pricemarked at £2.50, with a comprehensive range of flavours and strengths.

Elsewhere in the market, there are some interesting developments we are looking at and we usually trial them before rolling out nationally.

At Bestway we issued our annual Category Advice update in May which is on our website year-round. It brings together some of our insight and advice on the changing market. Vape and next generation nicotine products featured heavily in our last category advice update. We do our best to make retailers aware of any emerging trends and brands.

We are seeing real traction among our customers in this category and we will be providing more focused support for customers who want to take their vaping sales to the next level in the months and years ahead.

While direct-to-store suppliers are emerging all the time, as a wholesaler our interests are directly aligned to the retailer. After all, they must sell the product successfully to buy from us. This means that, at Bestway, we are working from a category perspective rather than just one brand.

On top of an impartial view, we can also agree support for customers that want to work with us, such as discounted display units, special pricing, advice and stock support.

As a retailers’ regular source of supply, they can ensure availability is maintained rather than waiting for a delivery or the next call – this is vital in all categories and vape and next generation nicotine products are no exception.

As the market evolves, and the rate of innovation continues to be high, we are also giving retailers a total market perspective on what the best emerging trends and brands are.

There is an inherent economy for a supplier delivering in bulk to our warehouses, we have a broad established business that can provide suppliers with huge distribution and sales. And thanks to our size and experience, we will always negotiate the best deals for our customers that we can and monitor our selling prices.

We look forward to working together in this exciting category, to create a great offer that’s right for your store, next time you visit your local Bestway depot.