Right on the money

Regal Signature King Size

The tobacco category still offers bright opportunities despite the value storm.

By Gaelle Walker

For local stores across Scotland, tobacco remains a key driver not just of footfall but also associated purchases.

As such, keeping on top of the latest tobacco trends and developments remains of the upmost importance – and there’s no bigger trend right now than value for money.

Adult smokers’ quest for value has continued to shape new product development within the tobacco market in recent months, with a number of product upgrades designed to provide them with more bang for their buck.

One such development came from Imperial Tobacco, which recently launched an upgraded version of its Regal Signature cigarettes to help retailers tap into the value trend.

Featuring the strapline, ‘The New Champion of Scotland,’ Regal Signature cigarettes feature quality paper, firm filters and a rounded-cornered box.

Packs of Regal Signature cigarettes now also boast resealable foil to help lock moisture in and maintain freshness. The range, including Kingsize and Superkingsize formats, is available to buy now in packs of 20 at an RSP of £12.75.

The hunt for products which offer the lowest out-of-pocket price is also being felt hard and fast in the Roll-Your-Own (RYO) segment, where product sales within the value price sector are growing by 8% year on year according to Imperial Tobacco, whose line-up includes Regal Signature, Riverstone and Players JPS.

Unsurprisingly, smaller pouch formats which offer the lowest out-of-pocket spend account for the lion’s share of sales, with Imperial data showing that 30g packs of rolling tobacco are now the most popular with adult smokers – making up a meaty 69% of all RYO sales.

However, as the company’s UK Consumer Marketing Director Yawer Rasool warns, “larger formats still account for 31% of RYO sales, so ensuring a range of 50g formats is available should also be a focus.”

Tobacco: Key facts
  • The tobacco category, which is worth £14bn each year, provides a substantial sales opportunity for retailers.
  • Factory Made Cigarettes currently holds the lion’s share of the market, worth 70% of tobacco sales, with Roll Your Own accounting for 30%.
  • In fact, the value tier, combined with the economy sector, now make up a substantial 69% of all FMC sales and 54% of all RYO sales.

(Source: Imperial Tobacco.)


With 4.5 million RYO smokers in the UK, the tobacco accessories category provides a substantial sales opportunity for retailers. Within the category, rolling papers continue to shine, growing at +13.3% year on year and worth more than £73m in convenience alone – according to Circana data for the year to 6 August 2023.

King size papers represent around 60% of the category’s sales value and within this, combi papers is the fastest growing segment.

Value-savvy consumers are also increasingly migrating from king size into combi formats due to the added value and convenience that they offer. Responding to this trend, Imperial has recently extended its combi range to include a new Classic King Size Combi variant for Rizla.

Other developments within the papers market include the introduction of OCB’s Authentic Real Rice Paper to the UK market.

Organic and chlorine free, OCB Rice Papers are made from a blend of rice and organic hemp. The unbleached, ultra-thin papers deliver a premium rolling and slow-burning experience in a natural, brown paper.

Featuring 32 papers per pack, OCB Rice is available in both Slim (RSP, £1.10) and Slim & Tips (RSP, £1.73).

Commenting on the move, Republic Technologies’ UK Sales & Marketing Director Gavin Anderson says: “Shoppers are more demanding than ever, looking for quality and value in every purchase. Top-quality products, displays and innovation are important, complemented by broad availability and distribution, but the importance of a competitive price point should not be underestimated,”

Cigar update

New Signature range

The total UK cigar category is currently worth just over £306.4m in annual sales, up just over 8% year on year according to latest data from STG. The category’s positive performance is mainly down to cigarillo sales, which have experienced profound success over the past four years, now accounting for just under £122m in annual sales and more than half of all cigars sold in volume terms.

The small, often flavoured, cigars are expected to continue shining brightly in 2024, as STG’s UK Marketing Manager Nataly Scarpetta explains: “Cigarillo sales show no sign of slowing down so I would expect that particular success story to continue throughout 2024 and beyond.

“Our Signature Action brand is currently the fastest-growing cigarillo, experiencing sales growth of 40.4% versus the same time last year.”

Scarpetta also urges retailers to keep an eye on flavoured cigars which are doing well in mainland Europe. “This doesn’t only mean peppermint-flavoured cigarillos, other flavoured cigars are popular too, particularly in the miniature segment, so make sure you have some good options in stock. Our Signature Red Filter brand is currently the UK’s bestselling aromatic filter cigar, with a smooth taste and vanilla flavour which proves consistently popular with those adult smokers,” she adds.

Legislative update

Legislation to ban future generations of adults from ever legally being sold tobacco products will be introduced in Scotland as well as the rest of the UK, it has been confirmed.

The proposal by the UK government will gradually increase the age of sale for cigarettes, making it an offence to sell tobacco products to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

Health is a devolved matter, but agreement has been reached for a four-nation approach to tackling smoking.

The proposed legislation will grant Scotland the appropriate powers needed to enact the bill, but the Scottish Parliament will then need to give its consent via a vote in Holyrood.

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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.