Nielsen’s Ecig Market Review

Posted 12th February 2016 by Dave Cross
Twelve months ago we reported how the boom in electronic cigarette sales appeared to be leaping forward. Sales had jumped 49.5% in year-on-year figures against a 22% drop in traditional cigarette sales figures. Research company Nielsen highlighted that the spectre of regulation loomed in 2015. So, how did the year pan out?

The latest data makes for poor reading as sales are down by 3.5%. While the volume of sales increased by 19.5% (less than half the growth demonstrated last year) this was offset by the pressure on prices and they tumbled by 19.3%.

The point worth noting is that Nielsen only track sales through the grocery sector, in supermarkets and retail stores – not sales via websites or in vape establishments. So, while they state that the market was worth £586 million in 2015 they estimate that the unmonitored ecig sector took £1.7 billion in sales.

The reduction in retail pricing primarily affects the Big Tobacco cigalike brands as they vie for market domination and provides an indication how they will continue during 2016. Nielsen claim the monitored market breaks down as follows: 47% rechargeable refills, 26% disposable cigalikes, 22% vaping kits and 5% e-liquids.

One would expect the percentage of liquid sales to be far higher in the Gen 3 market hence why it is attracting so much attention from regulators here and abroad. Management Science Associates’ data backs up this supposition: “45.5% e-liquids, 43% refill cartridges, 7% disposables and 4.5% kits.” And, contradicting Nielsen, they put a positive spin on findings by saying sales across all products were up 17.5% on a year ago.

They report the cigalike market as being broken down as follows: Reynolds’ Vuse 44.2%, Imperial’s Blu 17.3%, Logic 8.7%, Altria’s MarkTen 7.1% and NJOY 4.9%. It is predicted that marketing activity by these brands will continue to expand the market with the adoption of brands by current smokers through trials and sampling.

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 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker