Tobacco manufacturers are set to face “major competition” from challenger brands in e-cigarettes, following Juul Labs’ entry into the UK.
With a 75% share of the US vaping and e-cigarette market, the company entered the UK in July with a product similar to Philip Morris International’s Iqos and JTI’s Logic devices.
The ‘heat not burn’ system costs £24.99 for a device, while a four-pack of refillable pods costs £9.99.
Tomas Zalatoris, co-founder of online vaping wholesaler Clouder, told RN that Juul’s existing reputation, alongside the ability to bring products to the market faster, can help it compete with major suppliers. “Competition is increasing rapidly and most of the market is made up of smaller brands,” he said. “The major tobacco companies take two years to launch a new product due to their own strict requirements.
“Every vaping company has to obey regulations, but the tobacco manufacturers have their own requirements as well.
“Smaller companies like Juul are more agile and the tobacco companies can’t keep up.”
Raj Aggarwal, of Spar Hackenthorpe in Sheffield, said he plans to stock the products in his store following a meeting with the company’s representatives during a trip to the US, and believes it would appeal to his customers. “It’s massive in the US, and I see it bringing major competition to a lot of the big brands in the UK,” he said.
“It’s very easy to use, it’s slim and it doesn’t look at all intrusive.”
However, Jason Birks, of Moscis Convenience Store in Peterlee, said he believes the product would only work in certain areas. “I’ve decided not to stock the product because the price is a bit expensive for my customer base,” he said.
The comments come as exclusive RN research found specialist suppliers, on average, represent 60% of an independent retailer’s vape sales.