Compare premium cigarette prices: Behind the numbers

When it comes to purchasing premium cigarettes, shoppers are often loyal to particular brands and are happy to pay extra for them.

Across all 12 of this week’s lines, the average price charged by retailers is above Booker’s RRP, highlighting that retailers don’t seem too worried about shoppers going elsewhere.

Take Benson & Hedges Kingsize Dual, for example, with an average price that is almost 50p above RRP.

City centre retailers seem to have more of an opportunity to push for extra margin, with plenty of distress purchases being made.

The residential neighbourhood shop in a north Essex village charges 84p above Booker’s RRP on Marlboro Gold, and the suburban newsagent in Nottingham charges 40p more than Booker’s RRP across Richmond lines.

To keep customers loyal to the premium cigarettes category, use sales data to discover your bestselling lines and keep sales strong.

Read more Pricewatch: Premium spirits price comparison

Premium cigarettes profit comparison

Benson & Hedges King Size 20s Price distribution

Premium cigarettes price comparison

Premium cigarettes price comparison

Percentage of stores selling above, below and at the most common retail price:

ProductAverage UK
retail price
Booker RRPResidential
neighbourhood
shop in North
Essex village
Suburban
Nottingham
newsagent
Large newsagent
Southampton
city centre
Newsagent and
C store in
residential area
West Yorkshire town
Local store
in South Wales
village centre
Lambert & Butler Kingsize Original Silver 20s£10.56£10.35£11£10£10.99£10.35£10.35
Marlboro Gold 20s£11.67£11.15£11.99£11.45£11.50£11.05£11.25
Mayfair Kingsize 20s£10.34£10.10£10.49£10.30£10.70£10£10.10
Benson & Hedges Gold 20s£12.10£11.94£12.29£12.10£11.97£11.85£11.94
Silk Cut Purple 20s£12.13£11.94£12.29£12.10£11.99£11.85£11.94
Benson & Hedges Silver 20s£11.19£10.95£11.19£12.10£10.95£10.85£10.95
Richmond Superking Green 20s£10.60£10.35£10.99£10.65£11.05£10.35£10.35
Richmond Superking Real Blue 20s£10.57£10.35£10.99£10.65£10.95£10.35£10.35
Richmond Real Blue 20s£10.56£10.35£10.99£10.65£11.05£10.35£10.35
Benson & Hedges Dual 20s£11.33£10.89£11.99£12.10£11.30£10.85£10.89
Silk Cut Silver 20s£12.09£11.94£12.29£12.10£11.94£11.85
Regal Blue 20s£12.17£12.05£11.95£12.05
Total£135.32£132.36

Read more: Pricewatch price comparisons

Supermarket premium cigarettes price comparison

ProductSainsbury’sTescoASDA
Lambert & Butler Kingsize Original Silver 20s£10£10
Marlboro Gold 20s£11.05£11.39£11
Mayfair Kingsize 20s£10.05£9.95
Benson & Hedges Gold 20s£12.50£12.35£12.35
Silk Cut Purple 20s£12.55£12.40
Benson & Hedges Silver 20s£10.74£10.74£10.75
Richmond Superkings Green 20s£10.10£10.35£10.35
Richmond Superkings Real Blue 20s£10.10£10.35£10.35
Richmond Real Blue 20s£10.10£10.35£10.35
Benson & Hedges Dual 20s£10.74£10.74
Silk Cut Silver 20s£12.55£12.40£12.40
Regal Blue 20s£12.05£12.03£12.05
Total£132.53£133.05£99.60

Retailer views

Hitesh Pandya

Store Toni’s News
Location Ramsgate, Kent
Size 500sq ft
Type Residential

Top products
Benson & Hedges Gold
Silk Cut Purple
Marlboro Gold

What works well Benson & Hedges Gold, Silk Cut Purple and Marlboro Gold sell well, but the category is dropping overall.

What I’ve learned Shoppers who smoke premium lines have no interest in value brands or vaping. Premium cigarettes are in decline, and it’s become more about value for us, but it’s a complicated market because smokers are loyal to the brands they’ve bought for a long time. We are concerned about the illicit trade, but shoppers will often return to buy premium brands in store because of the difference in taste.

Samantha Coldbeck

Store Wharfedale Premier
Location Hull
Size 1,500sq ft
Type Residential

Top products
Lambert & Butler Silver
Benson & Hedges Gold
Marlboro Gold

What works well Lambert & Butler Silver continue to sell well, but sales of Marlboro and Benson & Hedges Gold have dropped dramatically recently.

What I’ve learned We’re in a price-led area, so tobacco shoppers tend to go for popular brands, such as Benson & Hedges. We are trying to achieve a good margin where possible, but the margin on premium cigarettes has decreased significantly over the past few years. We have found that there isn’t any brand loyalty any more and shoppers will go with whatever is cheapest.

Supplier advice

Ross Hennessy JTI

Ross Hennessy, head of sales, JTI

Despite the well-publicised growth of value tobacco, the value of the premium cigarette category should not be overlooked – there are more than 1.7 million smokers of premium brands in the UK.

Existing adult smokers trust in the quality of premium brands. Consumers who buy premium cigarette brands display high brand loyalty across all categories.

Retailers can draw on this USP to trade-up their existing tobacco smokers to premium. Silk Cut has an annual retail sales value of £355.6m and Benson & Hedges Gold has an annual retail sales value of £275.8m. Retailers should stock popular brands like these to tap into the profit potential of premium.