Independent retailers should focus on stocking an e-cigarette range primarily consisting of closed-system devices, British American Tobacco (BAT) managing director Fredrik Svensson has told betterRetailing.

In an interview last week, Svensson said that closed systems are the most popular devices, while sales of open systems are declining. He also reiterated the importance of focusing on in-store displays, with navigation of the category an important factor in sales.

“Proper merchandising is important, especially for traditional smokers who are moving into the vaping category for the first time.

“We have a broad range of PoS on offer and 82 reps around the country dedicated to independent retailers,” he said.

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Regarding bestsellers, he added that Vype has a 12.9% market share in the UK, with its ePen 3, which won product of the year last year, making up 9% of the brand’s market share.

“Retailers should focus on tobacco and menthol flavours as these are the closest to home for smokers,” he advised. “As they move further away from traditional tobacco, they’ll be looking for a variety of flavours, such as fruity and alcoholic-flavoured varieties.”

BAT’s chief scientific officer Dr Chris Proctor, added that since 2011, there has been a 20% drop in smokers, and there are now three million vapers in the UK, with around 1.7 million of those solely using e-cigarettes.

Speaking of the recent negative press in the US, Proctor said a lack of regulation was one of the main reasons why it has not gone down so well.

“Europe was quicker in setting up a vaping regulatory body, which is why we don’t see much underage usage of vaping in the UK, and part of this comes down to responsible retailing,” he added.

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