Interesting research from leading cigar player STG shows that more cigarette smokers than you might think are very open to trying cigars.
One of the more interesting pieces of research in the tobacco market of the last year was a piece of work done by cigar market leaders Scandinavian Tobacco Group UK (STG UK) which examined the willingness of cigarette smokers to consider trying, and switching to, cigars. The Let’s Talk research of 1,000 UK adult smokers who visited their local convenience store at least once a week was carried out for STG by independent agency Censuswide UK and found that a lot more smokers than you might expect are open to the idea of at least trying cigars.
Alastair Williams (pictured), Country Director at STG UK, explains: “Our research from the Let’s Talk campaign into shopper purchasing habits of tobacco showed that most smokers are actually very open to trying cigars and willing to consider switching given the right factors. The research findings highlighted that 59% of male smokers who don’t normally smoke cigars would be willing to buy them. Around one third (32%) of traditionally non-cigar smoking males said they would try cigars primarily for their taste while 27% would if they were cheaper than cigarettes.”
The research also showed 79% of smokers who regularly visit a convenience store would try an alternative tobacco product, such as cigars, if it was recommended by store staff.
“These insights should help to dispel any misconceptions that cigarette smokers are not open to smoking or purchasing cigars and instead highlight that they are actually very open to recommendations from convenience store staff,” says Williams.
“To make the most of this opportunity, then, it makes sense for retailers to invest some time in upskilling both themselves and their staff to grow their understanding on the different cigars available in each segment, and what type of consumer they are most suited for. In doing so, retailers will be able to offer customers the all-important guidance they need and desire, to help them make informed choices on what cigar would be right for them.”
Why should retailers make that effort? In one word: profit. Cigars have double the profit margin of cigarettes and STG estimates that retailers would earn an additional £250 cash profit for each consumer that switches to cigars.
“There is a clear chance for retailers to capitalise on this opportunity,” says Williams. “By taking time to talk to customers about their preferences and being able to offer advice on what cigars would fit their individual smoking tastes, retailers can push up their cigars sales and benefit from increased margins and higher profits.”
Williams suggests Moments Blue is a great example of a product that delivers a great quality experience at a much cheaper out of pocket spend.
Indeed, out of pocket spend was highlighted by the Let’s Talk research as the leading influencing factor on consumer tobacco purchasing decisions, ahead even of value for money.
“Given the exemption of cigars from the restrictions around minimum pack sizes and standardised packaging, cigars are now the cheapest option available on shelf, which could be a key factor in the growing consumer openness to trying cigars,” says Williams. “However, it’s important for retailers to understand that value for money means different things for different people and stock a range of cigars at different price points to help retailers accommodate varying shopper needs.”