The vaping industry has grown rapidly in the past few years thanks to new and innovative companies, but now Big Tobacco thinks they can muscle in and take over the whole industry. Tobacco companies have been around for a LONG time, and they’ve had it pretty easy. They sell an addictive product that they know their customers need and they pump them out as fast as they can, for as much as they can. The tobacco cigarette has basically been the same for the past 60 years, with little to no innovation made or even needed. Then along comes e-cigarettes…. cheaper, thousands of flavours and product combinations and evidence-backed health benefits. So what does Big Tobacco do? They do what they’ve always done, lobby to kill the vaping industry and when they see that isn’t working, they buy up a few companies to make sure they have some skin in the game. But that doesn’t seem to working too well for them either and here’s why we think that is:
Vaping Isn’t Smoking, It’s a Completely New Market
One of the things Big Tobacco don’t seem to understand is that vaping isn’t smoking. Ever since advertising was banned, Big Tobacco have never REALLY had to fight for customer acquisition, they have millions of people hooked on their products and have been for a long time. They just bulk manufacture their products as quickly as possible, for as cheap as possible and then sit back and collect the profits. Vaping on the other hand is a highly innovative industry, with new products, flavours and accessories entering the market every day. It’s hard for the sleeping giants to keep up with the nimble vaping industry, God love them.
Customers Want Choice
It’s evident from recent surveys that vapers value the choice of flavours and products on the market. Even if you just take 1 flavour, mint for example, there can be hundreds of variations of mint eliquid; various strengths, different manufacturers, different sources of ingredients, different recipes. Big Tobacco don’t really do choice, they have a small selection of products and that’s the way they’ve always done it. This mindset has clearly been impressed upon their e-cigarette offerings as well. Take Blu for example, an e-cigarette company which is owned by Imperial Brands PLC (formerly Imperial Tobacco Group PLC), they offer 5 flavours, each with 2 strengths. Yes, that is a whopping 10 variations on offer to their customers. So what if you’re a Blu customer and want a very low nicotine eliquid or something as simple as apple flavour? Well you’re shit out of luck I guess. The irony is that Blu don’t even offer any other colour options in their kits either, they all come in
They’re Living In The Past
Back in the early days of vaping there wasn’t a lot of choice and e-cigarette kits were a bit more expensive than they are today. That’s why 1 of the most popular ways to try an e-cigarette was to buy a disposable or cig-a-like e-cigarette. If you’re wondering what a cig-a-like is, it’s those small, cigarette sized ecigs that use cartridges pre-filled with eliquid. And if you’re saying to yourself “WTF, do they even sell those anymore?”, the answer is yes, yes they do, most often sold by tobacco companies #facepalm. VUSE for example, the number 1 brand of disposable e-cigarette in the US, which is owned by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, was still in the red as of 2015, making them no profit. If that’s the number 1 in a country as big as the US, I’d hate to see the balance sheet of number 2. And that leads us on to point number 4….
There Isn’t Enough Profit In Vaping
Tobacco companies are used to big profits year-on-year. Like we mentioned earlier, they don’t have to do much, just manufacture their products and ship them out, maybe spend a few million on lobbying some politicians. The vaping industry on the other hand is a highly innovative and fast growing market, money needs to be spent on R&D, customer acquisition, online promotion, and more. E-cigarettes also offer a far lower profit margin than tobacco cigarettes. Never mind the fact that e-cigarettes are an electronic device, which can and will have faulty units which will be returned and replaced.
It’s easy to buy and use tobacco cigarettes, it’s a bit more complicated when it comes to buying and using a vape product, which is why a majority of customers tend to buy from an ecig shop. Cigarettes can easily be sold at a convenience store because they’re easy to use, just light one end and away you go. E-cigarettes by comparison have a lot more variables to take into account. Your e-cigarette kit has a tank, a battery which could be adjustable and normally an atomizer coil that needs replaced every so often. You also need to know what strength of nicotine is suitable, making sure it’s not too high or too low. Petrol stations and convenience stores are in the bulk sales industry, they buy and they sell, they don’t want to have to spend 15 minutes with a customer explaining the benefits of 1 kit over another. Perhaps this is why Big Tobacco only sell simple products in a limited range, who knows. One thing’s for sure though, in every vape shop there’s probably hundreds, if not thousands of combinations of e-cigarette kits and eliquid and we take the time to educate each and every customer before they make a decision on purchasing. Imagine asking a sales clerk at your local Spar what the VG percentage of each eliquid range is.
So there you have it, that’s our rundown of why we think Big Tobacco companies are no threat to vaping. What do you think of our list? Do you agree or do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments below.