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Retailers say affordability a key factor in choosing smoke-free alternatives

January 3, 2023


UK retailers expect affordability to be the deciding factor for adult smokers choosing a smoke-free alternative in 2023, a new survey has revealed.

When asked what customers will look for when choosing a smoke-free alternative, retailers prioritised price with over half (57%) agreeing that customers would select the cheapest products available, followed by those products offering the best overall value for money (18%), according to the research by KAM on behalf of Philip Morris Limited (PML).

Smoke-free alternatives that offered the widest taste range available (10%) and those offering convenience and ease (5%) ranked third and fourth, respectively.

This is the third consecutive year of running the survey, where PML ask UK convenience retailers what factors they believe will be important for adult smokers switching to smoke-free alternatives at the start of the New Year and beyond.

Asked what may prevent smokers from choosing a smoke-free product this year, price again was a factor with three in five retailers concerned that alternatives may be too expensive. Despite this, over two-thirds (68%) agree that smokers will use smoke-free products as a better alternative in 2023, with retailers themselves ready to support this transition.

Over half (56%) said that they stock heat-not-burn products, such as HEETS tobacco sticks, priced at £5 per pack, and IQOS Originals Duo – the UK’s number one heat-not-burn product – to help their customers make the switch in 2023.

“With the average price of cigarettes now £12.73 per pack, the data shows that retailers have listened to what customers have told them and stocked a range of smoke-free alternatives that are affordable and more importantly, a better choice than continuing to smoke,” Kate O’Dowd, Head of Commercial Planning at PML in the UK and Ireland, said.

“2023 will be the year of the multi-category, whereby retailers should offer affordable smoke-free choices that don’t compromise on taste, quality, or satisfaction for the user. With HEETS tobacco sticks costing less than half the price of an average pack of cigarettes, IQOS Originals Duo offers customers a real tobacco alternative and cigarette-like satisfaction, at a fraction of the price of smoking.”