Analysis

Fifty-two per cent of shoppers initially buy vapes and vaping equipment from traditional retail outlets, such as newsagents and convenience stores, so there is a massive opportunity to capitalise in a growing category predicted to be worth £2.5bn by 2025.

There are many products to stock that offer great margins, ranging from pens and tanks to e-liquids. For example, Blu Pro Kit offers margins of up to 21%. 

Displays in prominent positions can help drive sales and turn your store into a vaping destination, but even if you don’t have a fancy counter, independents are still in the best position to make a profit in the category compared with multiples, as they have better availability of some of the smaller and more popular brands. 

This is because the smaller brands command 70% of the market share in vaping, and most of them aren’t stocked by the multiples, making them an ideal area in which to invest as a starting point.

Profit checker

Price checker

ProductAvergage UK Retail PriceBooker RRPVillage store  in North SomersetTown store in north SomersetUrban City and Large Town store in West DorsetTown store in hampshirecity centre store in NorwichResidential store in Barnet, North londonSainsbury’sTescoAsda
VAPOURIZ E-LIQUID CLASSIC TOBACCO 12MG 10ML£3.17£3.40£3.99£3.99
VAPOURIZ E-LIQUID BLACK CHERRY 18mg 10ml£3.18£3.43£3.33£3.99£3.99
VAPOURIZ E-LIQUID JUICY APPLE 18MG 10ML£3.61£3.99£3.33£3.33£3.99£3.99
VAPOURIZ ELIQUID STRAWBERRY 10ML£3.77£3.60£3.99
LOGIC PRO CAPSULES CHERRY 2 X 12MG£4.25£4.50£4.50
LOGIC PRO CAP FJORD MENTHOL 12MG£4.35£4.50£4.50£4.50£3.99
BLU PRO CLEAROMISER£4.99£4.49£4.99£5.49£4.99£5.49
BLU MYBLU LIQUIDPODS BLUE ICE 8MG£6.07£5.99£6.15
VAPOURIZ DUAL COIL CLEAROMIZER£7.33£6.99£6.99£6.99£7.50£6.99
HEETS AMBER LABEL REFILLS 20S£8.28£8.00£8.50£5.99£5.99
HEETS YELLOW LABEL 20S£8.43£8.00£8.50£8.00
BLU PRO KIT ELECTRONIC CIG GEN 2£15.06£17.99£15.29

Drive your profits

Stacey Brookes Avatar

Stacey Brookes

The Dales Market Corner

Location: Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Size: 2,000sq ft

Type: Village

TOP TIP
People don’t like to spend too much on e-liquids, so it’s best to stick to RRP

People are definitely buying more vaping products this year. Our biggest sellers are e-liquids – not so much the big brands, but smaller ones, which we sell at three for £5. Fruit flavours go well and people tend to buy at the lower end of the milligram-nicotine content, as they’re often trying to quit smoking. We also sell Blu and Logic vaping devices, but you have to use their branded liquids with them, and people often prefer to have a device they can use any liquid with – I’d like to sell that kind of device, but haven’t yet found a supplier.

Ferhan Ashiq Avatar

Ferhan Ashiq

Day-Today

Location: Prestonpans, East Lothian

Size: 1,800sq ft

Type: Residential

TOP TIP
Customers are more likely to come back for branded products

My e-cigarette sales have taken a small hit recently, as a vape store has opened at the bottom of the high street. People prefer to go to a vape store if they can; they like to be able to buy from someone with expertise. I talk to my customers about the category, and they are generally more well-versed on the subject than they were a few years ago. Our bestselling products are the Vype ePen with click-in-and-out pods, and Debang e-liquids, which we sell at £3.99, or three for £10. We stick to RRP – the margins are good anyway, so there’s no need to price higher.

Nainesh Shah Avatar

Nainesh Shah

Mayhew’s Newsagents

Location: Belgravia, London

Size: 1,000sq ft

Type: City centre

TOP TIP
Keep a close eye on the market and trends

We introduced Juul in October and it’s become a huge seller, way ahead of its competitors. We’re selling them at a rate of 40 to one compared with other brands. Juul has a lot of advantages: it’s relatively cheap, it’s easy to use and clean, it’s very compact and you can charge it via USB on your laptop with no need for cables or wires. We stick to RRP with all our products – it’s a strategy that’s always worked for us, ensuring people think we’re reasonably priced – which gives us a margin of 30% on the Juul brand.

Dan Amin Avatar

Dan Amin

One Stop Stoke Aldemoor

Location: Coventry

Size: 2,000sq ft

Type: Estate

TOP TIP
Stick with the mainstream brands to ensure you’re selling legal products

We’ve got e-cigarettes, but they’re not great sellers. We have a display unit next to the counter so every customer sees that we have them, but they don’t seem to be interested. I’ve had Blu devices in my store for more than a year and don’t think I have sold a single one. Similarly, I brought in three different flavours 18 months ago and they’re still hanging around. It’s strange, because they sell in my other stores. It must be something to do with our demographics; we’re in a council estate in a deprived area of Coventry.