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myBlu vape

Adult smokers and vapers are demanding more from their nicotine portfolios.

By Gaelle Walker

Shoppers: they want it all don’t they? In these value-driven times, the need for retailers and brands to offer their shoppers low price points has perhaps never been so acute – but that certainly doesn’t mean that shoppers are willing to accept lower quality.

If anything, shoppers in 2022 are becoming even more demanding – a trend which is being observed right across the convenience gamut from soft drinks to food-to-go, tobacco and vape.

Tapping into this trend, Imperial Tobacco recently announced a new launch for its Embassy Signature range to help retailers answer the growing demand among adult smokers for premium features and experiences – without paying the premium price tag.

Available for a limited time only, the Embassy Signature Silver Edition variant offers a host of new premium features for the £10.15 RSP of the original product.

Some of the special features, which Imperial says are “usually associated with premium cigarettes,” include reduced smoke smell paper, a modern shaped filter, textured tipping paper and a resealable ‘fresh protect’ foil feature that maintains product freshness.

The growing consumer demand for premium quality experiences at value-for-money price points is also continuing to shape demand and NPD in the alternative nicotine products market – and particularly in the vape category.

The vape category has grown to be worth around £1.2bn in the UK according to Imperial, with roughly 38% of vaping volume sales taking place in the Convenience channel.

Closed pod systems, such as myblu, now account for 7.9% of volume share as adult vapers look to the category for its ease of use, flavours and value proposition.

As an incredibly “fast-moving” category, Imperial says it’s also important for retailers to keep one eye on the emerging trends in next-generation nicotine products and be prepared to adapt their range to incorporate any new products they think would work for their customer base.

“Making room for a small sample of new products on a regular basis enables retailers to trial the products and assess shopper interest in them prior to investing heavily or making them a permanent part of their range,” Imperial’s Head of Consumer Marketing Tom Gully says.

Display dos and don’ts

Imperial’s Tom Gully shares his thoughts on in-store vape displays and merchandising:

“It’s a good idea to have a strong visual display of vaping products, positioned away from the main gantry where possible, with clear information on pricing to enable customers to browse at their leisure without the need to handle products.

“Where space is limited, even a small countertop unit can help achieve this, especially if it is well organised and fully stocked. Making sure it is positioned in a well-lit part of the counter will also help increase visibility of products even further.

“Whatever display solution is in place, we would recommend grouping the respective products and brands together in a well-organised display. As well as creating further shelf-appeal for products, this will make it easier for staff to locate products for quick service and maintain stock levels.”

Other alternative nicotine products that retailers would do well to explore, are tobacco-free nicotine pouches which provide a convenient choice without smoke, vapour or odour.

JTI’s Nordic Spirit range, which is available in varying strengths, was recently extended with a new Spearmint flavour to complement its existing line-up of Mint and Bergamot Wildberry.

“Now more than ever, existing adult smokers and vapers are looking for convenient, discrete products that can be used when smoking or vaping might not be possible – making them a must-stock for retailers,” JTI’s Portfolio Brand Manager Bruce Terry says.

“A key trend within the nicotine pouch category is the continued demand for higher nicotine strengths.

“Strong and Extra-Strong now make up 76.3% of nicotine pouch sales and Extra-Strong is the fastest growing strength, so we advise retailers to provide a good choice of products in this segment.”

To help retailers tap into this trend, Nordic Spirit recently launched Extra Strong variants of its new Spearmint and Bergamot Wildberry products.