Excluding China and the United States of America, the report identifies seven countries as accounting for 75% of global market sales: Britain, France, Poland, Italy, Germany, Russia and South Korea.
It notes three distinct sectors:
- Rechargeables, and
- Modular units, commonly the advanced equipment
Importantly, in the description, it includes a simple fact often missing from other studies: “E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco”.
The report’s authors identified ten key findings from The Big 7:
1. The number of vapers is still growing rapidly
Vaping grew from 2.8-million people to 5.1-million between 2013 and 2015. Britain leads the way with 4% of the population now vaping, closely followed by France with 3.5%.
2. Vaping has now become a mainstream choice for smokers in most markets
The British vape market is now 20% of the size of the traditional tobacco market, 12% in France.
3. Vaping is working to turn smokers into ex-smokers
In 2013, 31% of vapers termed themselves as ex-smokers. Over the timeframe of this report, this number has risen to 37% of vapers.
4. A sizeable number of vapers say they vape regularly, but not all
38% of vapers consider their use to be regular rather than occasional. South Korea is the only country surveyed where more than half said they were regular vapers.
5. Advanced vape set-ups account for over three-fifths of the market
Modular systems have entrenched themselves as the product of choice for the majority of vapers. Products that allow the vape to be customised for the individual work best at delivering satisfaction – so no surprise there. Advanced products are used by 62% of vapers, a rise from 55%. Disposables are used by 16% and 35% use rechargeable e-cigarettes.
The study also found that advanced vapers like to use more than one type of device – they must have seen the POTV thread about what the postman has delivered!
6. Vapers are “demanding more variety in nicotine strengths and flavours”
Tobacco flavoured e-liquids accounted for 28% of juice sales, fruits 23% and botanicals 20% - and 16% of users use nic-free juices.
7. Vape stores are the most popular place for purchasing
The authors write: “79% of e-cigarette users purchased their devices at a retail store, with the most common being specialist stores.” This is the same story for liquids, although online shopping was more popular for juices than devices.
8. Why vape? “They are less harmful than regular cigarettes”
This was the top reason for vaping in Germany, Italy and Russia. It was one of the top three reasons for vaping in the UK, South Korea and Poland.
9. Why vape? “It helps me reduce smoking factory made cigarettes”
This was the overall second-most popular reason for vaping, 49% of vapers, and the most popular reason given in the UK, South Korea and France.
10. Cigarette cost influences ecig use
The authors believe that higher cigarette prices tend to drive higher e-cigarette use. They write: “survey evidence suggests that the difference in price between combustible tobacco and e-cigarettes is a key factor in consumer decision making.”
Discovering that they are being increasingly locked out of the blooming independent vape market will not have come as good news to the tobacco-owned company. Companies like Nicoventures are either going to have to launch their own advanced products, settle for less market share - or attempt to disrupt the independent sector in another fashion.