The vaping category is predicted to be worth £2.5bn by 2025, and with 35% of consumers switching between vaping and traditional tobacco, it’s a market that independent retailers can tap into to drive their profits.
Andrew Miller, head of next-generation products at Blu, says 52% of consumers initially start buying vaping products in traditional retail, like supermarkets and convenience stores, and then branch out to other outlets, while 80% of those vaping are looking to quit smoking altogether.
He adds that more shoppers now seek sleeker devices when in the office and running everyday errands, but larger tanks when heading out in the evening – so having a range that meets multiple needs is essential.
Alex Sykes, the company’s next-generation product executive, explains that nine times out of 10, a new vaping consumer will ask a retailer for a recommendation on what to buy, so retailers must be clued up on the different devices, strengths and flavours out there, if they are to successfully secure a sale.
Where is the opportunity?
Miller says the menthol ban, which will come into force in May 2020, is a huge opportunity for retailers, as 40% of menthol smokers will look at other categories within tobacco, so retailers must start stocking menthol-flavoured liquids now to capitalise on demand.
E-liquids come in different strengths, and depending on the PG and VG levels, it will give consumers a different experience. The PG level refers to the how intense the vape will feel in consumers’ throats, while the VG indicates how much ‘cloud’ the liquid will produce.
Sykes explains that alongside e-liquids, retailers should stock one or two mid-range devices, which make up 45% of the market, followed by pod mods, like Myblu, as an entry-level device that commands 35% of the market, plus one or two big tank systems, which make up 25% of the market.
Retailers can also drive their profits by getting their tobacco customers to switch. Miller explains that 46% of vapers currently consume tobacco as well, but with 40% of smokers still yet to try vaping, the opportunity is massive for independent retailers.
Transactions in vape stores take, on average, 15 minutes because staff engage with shoppers and ask them questions about what type of vaping experience they are looking for. Miller says independents can learn from this by asking shoppers questions to assess what device is suited to them.
He adds Blu reps are on hand to help retailers become experts in this category, so urges store owners to work with them.
This way, they can establish themselves as experts, encouraging repeat purchase for vaping products.