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IQOS gives PMI reason for cheer as global cigarette sales collapse

October 26, 2020


Philip Morris has revealed global sales of its reduced risk products [RRPs] amounted to almost $5 billion during the first three quarters of 2020.

Despite the continued pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, unit sales of the company’s IQOS system were up 18.7 percent during the last quarter. These positive results are in stark contrast to the company’s combustible cigarettes volume sales, which were down 7.6 percent in the third quarter of this year, after an even more dramatic 14.5 percent in the second quarter.

At the end of September, the company said it has recruited 16.4 million users for the IQOS brand worldwide, with 4.7 million of these in the EU. The company says it now expects to meet its target of selling 90 to 100 billion units from its reduced risk products portfolio in 2021.

Philip Morris’ chief financial officer, Emmanuel Babeau, said: “This strong performance from IQOS means that heated tobacco units made up over 10 percent of our total shipment volume in the first nine months of the year, as compared to approximately 8 percent in 2019, and 5 percent in 2018. We continue to expect this proportion to grow over time as the positive momentum on RRPs continues.

“Our mission is to grow the RRP category globally and transform the mix of our business. With $4.9 billion in sales year-to-date, RRPs are now approaching one quarter of our total net revenues.”