Next Generation vaping comes of age Big suppliers commit to build the market with big brands

Quitting cigarettes is a popular new year’s resolution for thousands of us every January, but sticking to it is hard. Thankfully it’s now become that much easier with the help of Ecigarettes, vaping devices and e liquids.

The even better news is that vaping has taken a huge leap forwards in the last few years, and the latest batch of Next Generation Products created to help smokers quit the habit are a long way on from the first generation of vape products that came to prominence in the early 2000’s.

When the UK vaping market started, ‘pure vape’ companies were making the running, importing products from China, birthplace of e cigarettes and bringing in a huge and confusing diversity of devices, delivery systems and e liquids.

Vaping soon caught on among smokers of all ages trying to kick the habit. Local vape shops sprang up on high streets across Britain, set up by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, selling products distributed largely outside the established tobacco channels and contributing to vaping’s cool image with younger consumers.

From these beginnings vaping had a determinedly ‘indie’ attitude to start with, but now it’s gone mainstream, including the route to market. These days in the multiple sector you can find vaping products in superstores, convenience format outlets and petrol forecourts. In short, the major multiples are grasping the vaping opportunity and grabbing a growing share of sales.

On the supply side the big tobacco companies have been actively adding Next Generation Vaping products to their offering alongside the traditional tobacco products their businesses are built on, and you can see adverts for Next Generation brands on the sides of London buses.

In the latest major global development Juul Labs, a US start up from outside the tobacco industry, has captured 74% of the American ecigarette market in just three years.

Juul Labs is a technology company dedicated to eliminating cigarettes by offering existing adult smokers a true alternative to combustible cigarettes. Since launching in Sainsburys, JUUL has been incredibly successful. There are 7.4m adult smokers in the UK, which account for 14% of the adult population. JUUL’s mission is to impact directly with these smokers to provide them with a credible alternative to tobacco. John Patterson, Sales Director at JUUL takes up the story:

“Usage of Vaping products continues to increase as tobacco declines. However, many smokers still have to be educated on the benefits of switching. Public Health England has advocated that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking. However only 22% of smokers believe it to be less harmful and another 22% are unsure. If adult smokers can be further convinced of the merits of switching, the head-room for growth in the category is huge.”

JUUL’s simple and clean design eliminates the need for cords, messy refills, buttons, switches or set up. It operates with a closed system of JUULpods that provides product quality and consistency and click intuitively into the top of the device. When activated with a simple inhalation, JUUL delivers a patented JUULSalts eliquid formula that is designed to satisfy, with a smooth vape experience. John Patterson continues: “The JUUL core range range is just six products – a starter kit and five flavoured pod refill packs – all containing the same level of nicotine, which means that from a retail footprint, retailers do not have to apportion lots of space to stock the entire range.”

The Starter kit (RRP £29.99) offers the JUUL device and four flavour pods so that switchers can try out the four key flavours to choose their preferred flavour. There are currently five refill flavours available, Golden Tobacco, Glacier Mint, Apple Orchard, Royal Creme and Mango Nectar with an RRP of £9.99.

“From a convenience store point of view,” John Patterson concludes, “JUUL is the perfect vaping product, it’s simple, it’s clean and it satisfies. The unique pod system simply clicks into the device and it’s ready to go. It’s clean as there is no ash or smell and JUUL delivers in terms of satisfaction for switchers replicating the ritual of smoking a cigarette.”

TPD clears the clouds

Some 45,000 vaping products were registered here before the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) came into force in 2017. A lot have since disappeared and the UK vaping market has become regulated.

Duncan Cunningham, Head of Corporate and Legal Affairs at Imperial Brands, watches the market closely: “The number of vapers in the UK is expected to continue to rise, which is no surprise when you consider the significant lifestyle and cost benefits compared to traditional tobacco. Only a minority of vape sales currently stem from traditional retail outlets, pointing to a real growth opportunity for wholesalers and retailers who are prepared to upskill and invest in the category.”

Imperial Brands substantially enhanced their vaping capabilities in 2018 by buying Nerudia and have made some significant strides with their eliquid range, including the launch of the improved Tobacco flavour for their blu e-liquid.

Despite only being around a decade old, says Chris Street, Head of Sales and Marketing Operations at blu UK, the UK vaping market continues to develop and evolve at a rapid pace from both a commercial and technical perspective. The category is estimated to be worth £728m, with sales channels spanning online and vape stores in addition to traditional retail outlets:

“While it’s difficult to ascertain the true scale of this fastgrowing category, what is clear is that the opportunity it presents for retailers is huge. There are three million vapers in the UK, a figure expected to continue to rise, which is no surprise when you consider the significant lifestyle and cost benefits compared to traditional tobacco. However, currently only a minority of vape sales stem from traditional retail outlets, which represents a real growth opportunity for retailers prepared to upskill and invest in the category.”

The continuous evolution of vaping technology, allied to changing consumer trends, makes this an incredibly fast-moving and exciting category. Some 40% of UK smokers still haven’t even tried vaping, as Chris Street points out:

“We will continue to develop products that encourage these individuals to switch, through great new flavours, breakthroughs in nicotine delivery like Nicsalts and vape devices utilising current wider tech trends like smartphone connectivity. The vape category will only continue to grow, potentially presenting one of the biggest retail opportunities in years.”

Imperial’s new myblu pod mod device has grown extensively in distribution and availability since its launch just a few months ago. myblu delivers an enhanced vaping experience that is simple, powerful and convenient, an attractive product for vapers looking for a second device, vape/tobacco dualists and smokers looking to switch. The device combines a high-performance vaporiser with hassle-free Liquidpods that allow consumers to switch between flavours in seconds via a simple one-step ‘click and go’ system. In the US – the biggest vaping market – pod systems are a key growth category, highlighting further opportunities for growth here.

Nicsalts myblu is the first widelyavailable pod mod device to feature Nicotine Salts (nicsalts), which more closely resemble the way nicotine is found in the tobacco leaf in its natural state. Vaping a myblu Intense Liquidpod results in nicotine being absorbed into the body faster than normal e-liquids, which more closely replicates the experience of smoking a traditional cigarette. As a result, the range particularly appeals to adult smokers looking to switch for the first time, and those who have tried vaping but haven’t been convinced.

Another recent addition to the blu portfolio is blu ACE, which brings the popular MOD experience to the mass market with its superior sub-ohm performance, stronger vapour production and bigger tank. blu offers a wide range of traditional tobacco, plus sweet and savoury e-liquid flavours in a variety of nicotine strengths.

“In this extremely fragmented and highly competitive category,” says Chris Street, at blu UK, “it’s important to take a partnership approach to building this sector and delivering added value for all.” With its strong track record of developing positive, fruitful relationships with the trade, Imperial is keen to work with retailers around blu, sharing insights and data to help improve their understanding and advocacy of their products as well as the broader e-vapour category.

Traditional tobacco companies JTI and BAT are also active in the vaping market. BAT has 41% value share of vaping sales in the traditional tobacco retail channel through its Vype, 10 Motives and Cirro ranges. BAT’s offering includes Cirro, the UK’s favourite eLiquid, 10Motives, the UK’s bestselling cigalike product, and Vype, which comes top in research as the UK’s most trusted vaper brand. BAT’s latest launch is the Vype ePen3 device range, including the Vype ePen 3 and eLiquid pods.

Vype ePen 3 is at the cutting edge of closed-system vaping technology, delivering superior performance in internal tests versus other leading Pod Mods. The specially formulated flavours come with four nicotine levels, 0mg/ml, 6mg/ml, 12mg/ml and 18mg/ml and include Blended Tobacco, Crisp Mint, Wild Berries, Golden Tobacco, Dark Cherry, Apple and. Infused Vanilla. vPro Nicotine Salt Cartridges Nicotine Salts are now available for the ePen 3 with the introduction of the vPro range, which is also made in the UK bespoke to ePen 3 and contains premium ingredients.

The vPro range delivers an enhanced vaping satisfaction through a more intense nicotine hit and flavour delivery. For the first time, a 14-day obligation free trial available at GoVype.com will enable consumers to discover the satisfying taste and high performance of the Vype ePen 3, before committing to purchase.

Gemma Webb, General Manager at British American Tobacco UK says: “ePen 3 is our best vape ever and has been five years in the making. The wide choice of colours, flavours and nicotine strengths mean there is something for every vaper or smoker.”

JTI UK also see a huge opportunity for retailers investing in this growing category, says Ross Hennessy, the company’s Head of Sales:

“The vaping category is currently worth £177 million in traditional retail outlets in the UK and the future is bright, with 11.5% growth in the last year. As consumer demand for vaping grows, we’re urging retailers to display these products prominently in store to maximise potential sales, keeping a clear and tidy vaping display to ensure customers are aware of the choice and range available.”

Ross quotes figures showing that capsule and refillable products are currently the fastest growing devices in vaping, now used by 76% of adult vapers that use refillable devices, 72% of whom use their device daily.

JTI’s Logic PRO is the UK’s No.1 capsule vaping brand and winner of the 2018 ‘Product of the Year’ award, and an update is now available, the next generation Logic PRO 2. JTI’s Logic LQD range offers the three most popular vaping liquid flavours, fruit (30%), menthol (22%) and tobacco (19%).

In another development Philip Morris International has launched the Next Generation of its IQOS, the world’s leading Heated Tobacco Product, to accelerate the switch to smoke-free alternatives and to create a better world for smokers. The new iterations were launched in Tokyo, Japan, the country considered the birthplace of IQOS.

“Our dream was to create a better alternative for smokers, and IQOS has made this dream a reality; it’s a revolution for the 1.1 billion people who smoke,” says André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s CEO. “IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI mark another step toward convincing all men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to smoke-free alternatives.”

IQOS produces an aerosol that contains on average 90% lower levels of harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke. PMI’s evidence indicates that switching completely to IQOS presents less risk of harm than continued smoking. Evidence also shows IQOS does not negatively affect indoor air quality. On average, 70 to 80 percent of IQOS users have quit cigarettes. PMI has filed a Modified Risk Tobacco Product Application (MRTPA) for IQOS with the U.S. FDA. As of September 30, PMI estimates that nearly 6 million adult smokers around the world have stopped smoking and switched to PMI’s heated-tobacco product, which is currently available for sale in 43 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand.

Still plenty of opportunity for the indies

As we have said, the big tobacco companies have come into the market and the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) has set down rules that suppliers have to follow. But the vape market still offers plenty of exciting opportunities for independent suppliers with a strong quality proposition. One of these ids Double Drip, the high VG e-liquid brand, which has launched its first nic salts range. Brett Horth, Vapouriz/Double Drip CEO explains:

“With the traditional January stop smoking period upon us, this is a prudent time to stock up on nic salts. They deliver nicotine to the blood stream far more quickly than standard nicotine-containing e-liquids.“ Double Drip Nic Salts are available with two nicotine strengths, 10mg and 20 mg, and seven flavour variants, Super Berry Sherbet, Crystal Mist, Menthol Mist, Lemon Sherbet, Cherry Bakewell, Raspberry Sherbet and Mango Raspberry Ice Cream.