Filter cigarettes still on the rise globally despite 57% of smokers wanting to quit, says GlobalData

Health concerns related to conventional tobacco products combined with campaigns such as the NHS’s Stoptober encouraging people to quit smoking, have led to around *57% of smokers having the desire to give up smoking. Consumers that feel they cannot stop completely are instead turning to cigarette alternatives that have reduced risk and contain fewer common toxins such as tar. However, despite the efforts and changing trends, the filter cigarette market is still expected to grow between 2018 and 2023, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Cigarettes account for a large majority of spending in the tobacco industry. Overall tobacco products represented $707bn in global spending in 2018 and cigarettes were the largest category, having generated $654bn. China is the largest cigarette market by volume, almost eight times larger than Indonesia, which ranks second. Filter cigarettes are the only segment that is expected to grow between 2018 and 2023 by volume, while all other segments are expected to decline – with chewing tobacco expected to see the largest fall at 5.4%.

Tobacco users are more drawn to natural ingredients than current e-cigarette users. Therefore, smoking alternatives looking to convert tobacco smokers should employ natural ingredients and avoid harmful chemicals.

Mitsue Konishi, Senior Innovation Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “One important reason for smoking cited by traditional cigarette users is relaxation. Novel ingredients that provide a relaxing or refreshing feeling will be important to explore. In this vein, cannabidiol (CBD) has been widely used in recent innovations in the US and Europe. Cigarette alternatives can also capitalize on this new ingredient.”

Globally, the majority of smokers (57%) are more concerned about quality than cost when considering tobacco and smoking alternatives, and are willing to pay more for better-quality products. It will be a challenge for many brands and manufacturers to communicate product quality, particularly for cigarettes, as many markets have some restrictions on packaging.

Konishi adds: “Taste and other sensory attributes cannot be compromised. Latin America is quality-driven, while North America is price-sensitive. Premiumization can be effective in the former market, but the price point of new innovations in tobacco and smoking alternatives must be carefully considered in the latter.

“Heat-not-burn (HNB) has been hugely popular in the East, particularly in Japan, and there is now an interesting migration of HNB markets in the West. Manufacturers of HNB state that the toxins are lower risk than conventional cigarettes, meaning HNB can be a potential product for smokers seeking an alternative to tobacco. However, there is a legal challenge for manufacturers to not attract consumers that cannot legally smoke.”

*   GlobalData 2015 Q1 Global Consumer Survey
*a  GlobalData 2018 Q3 Global Consumer Survey

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