Upcoming: Vape Business Award TBC
Home Features & interviews Vape: Changing the Marketplace

Vape: Changing the Marketplace

November 22, 2019


In the 12 months to June the vaping category generated value sales of £81m in the Convenience channel, representing growth of 15.7 per cent year on year, with 3.6m people in the UK now vaping, a rise of 12.5 per cent since 2018.

With eight million UK smokers as potential new vapers, and the government determined that tobacco will be obsolete by 2030, now is the time to start switching from tobacco to vape sales.

This was the message from the panel at the Asian Trader Conference held on 6 November 2019, who underlined that the annual drop of three per cent sales in cigarettes and the rise in vape means that a tipping point will soon be reached, and that in five years most sales will probably be vape.

Incisively chaired by Clive Myrie, the vape panel benefited from the industry expertise of Nick Geens, JTI’s Head of Reduced Risk Products, and the retailing flair and imagination of two men who have made vape a major part of their retail offer, Amrit Singh Pahal, owner of Nisa Local High Heath and Alex Kapadia, of Freedom Wines Ltd.

JTI’s Nick Geens explained that there were 40k vape products from over 600 suppliers, but that as the market starts to mature and go mainstream, a period of consolidation will begin.

Vape maestro Amrit Pahal explained that customers might feel uncomfortable going to a vape shop, while availability of recognisable branded and straight-forward products such as vape pods in Convenience stores would encourage vaping.

Convenience Vape specialist Alex Kapadia stressed next year’s menthol tobacco ban will prove a great boost for vaping: almost no smokers are aware of it, and this represents a massive opportunity. Amrit said you can promote vape as cheaper than tobacco and was stocking up on menthol vape product.

Despite the scare stories in the media, all agreed that vape sales are on a steady rise and that the channel will benefit greatly from vape, as will the nation’s lungs.

Three key takeaways:

  • Vape is a market growing as cigarettes are in decline, so educate yourself and begin switching over now to products with a 50 per cent margin (says Amrit Pahal).
  • Given the vaping troubles in the USA now, it is important to stock well-regulated products. Luckily the UK regime is enlightened and very much geared towards this.
  • Get ready for the menthol cigarette ban in May next year and educate your customers that vape menthol will still be legal – and cheaper (with better margins for the retailer)