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Retail Insights
Vaping Growth Hit by Negative Press Coverage
Vaping remains popular by any means. The Vape category in Symbol and independent convenience stores has almost doubled in size since 2017. Average like-for-like sales increased throughout the first half of 2019, with a 20-25% expansion over figures recorded in 2018.

However, the pace of growth slowed in September. This coincides with the first large-scale report on vaping-related illness making headlines in the national press.

Year-on-year Vape growth dropped into single figures during October. Throughout November, expansion fell  to only one fifth of the growth seen in January 2019.

Average Vape Sales

Monthly sales progress has slowed in spite of attempts by NHS England to counter negative press coverage.

The NHS England study involved 181 smokers or ex-smokers. Volunteers completed questionnaires and provided breath, saliva, and urine samples. Previous studies of this kind relied on animal research, or laboratory equipment, to estimate any long-term effects of e-cigarette use. 

Despite boiling down a conclusion where 'vaping has been endorsed by health experts' (ITV News, 2019), average Vape sales declined by 5.2% from August to September. Sales dipped a further 1.5% from September to October, although this figure recovered slightly in November (+0.7%).
The weekly number of TRDP customer stores selling electronic cigarettes and other Vape products declined by 3% between the peak week (26 August – 1 September) and mid-November.

Considering that the decline in store numbers selling Vape (on a weekly basis) takes place against the backdrop of a growing TRDP store estate, the real decline in the number of stores selling Vape since Week 36 (commencing on 2 September 2019) is closer to 6%.

For comparison, sales of factory-made cigarettes declined by 9% in September vs August and by 1.2% in October vs September. Sales increased by 0.2% in November vs October. The category continued to decline year-on-year.

Want more information on our data, or to find sales figures from previous months? Get in touch with our data team via our contact form.

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