Retailers say PM still on top, e-cigs will continue to grow

| April 18, 2013

The first quarter of 2013 has come and gone, and with it, a UBS-CSP survey of a variety of convenience store operators–whose sizes ranged from one store location to more than five hundred—on a range of tobacco-related issues. The exclusive study brought good news for industry leader Philip Morris and even better news for the growing e-cigarette segment.

When asked which of the Big Three premium cigarette brands would gain the most market share in 2013, the majority (54 percent) of retailers surveyed named Marlboro; By comparison, 27 percent picked Camel and 18 percent picked Newport, according to a story on CSPnet.com

The majority of survey respondents expected only modest market share for Philip Morris’ new offerings: 60 percent anticipate Marlboro NXT (the company’s capsule cigarette) to have a .25-.5 percent market share by the end of 2013; 71 percent believe Marlboro Southern Cut will have a .25-.5 percent share.

E-Cigarettes

The news was even more positive for e-cigarettes: more than three quarters of surveyed retailers are carrying at least one e-cigarette in their stores and over half are carrying more than one brand. The study results showed retailers are trying a multitude of e-cigarette brands, although blu and NJOY are leading the way.

“Blu is going like gangbusters right now,” said one retailer. Another said he liked the Lorillard-owned company’s “combination of good merchandising and marketing.”

Meanwhile, retailers like the wide availability and distribution of NJOY, along with the fact that the new NJOY Kings product “feels and looks like a real cigarette.”

While retailers were somewhat mixed on which brand will lead the pack, they largely agreed that the segment is here to stay: 95 percent said they believe electronic cigarettes will continue to grow as a category. When asked to explain their opinion, respondents cited the high cost of cigarettes, smoking bans and health concerns as reasons for continued growth.

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