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European electronic cigarette market twice the size of initial forecast
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Mark Benson Offline
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European electronic cigarette market twice the size of initial forecast
If you dig below the negative press comment of late you will see news that the European electronic cigarette market as a whole was actually twice the size of initial forecasts for 2013. ECigIntelligence has revealed that the market for electronic cigarettes across Europe reached £1.3 billion in 2013 against initial forecasts of "just" £700 million. This is a welcome sign for the electronic cigarette industry and indeed customers who have been under pressure for some time from governments, regulators and those with a biased opinion against sector.

So what does this mean for the future of electronic cigarette industry and does it strengthen or weaken the position of manufacturers going forward?

Regulatory issues

There's no doubt that European regulators will issue more restrictions on the sale of electronic cigarettes in due course with some suggesting an electronic cigarette tax is inevitable. It remains to be seen whether governments across Europe will be able to implement an electronic cigarette tax especially when you bear in mind the very different make up compared to their tobacco cigarette counterparts.

You could argue that a seemingly higher sales figure for 2013 will give regulators more ammunition although you could also argue that it gives the industry more power. It is becoming more obvious that governments and regulators around the world seriously underestimated the power of the electronic cigarette movement and are now paying the price. The more customers the industry attracts the more difficult it will be for governments to push through highly restrictive changes to the industry.

Future growth

While estimates about the size of the US electronic cigarette market during 2013 vary from $1 billion-$2 billion, there is no doubt that momentum is building. Some experts believe that 2015 could see electronic cigarette sales top $5 billion in the US which bodes well for the European market. It is interesting to see that the European market as a whole, around $1.2 billion when converted from sterling, is actually on a par with the US. However, there is no doubt that U.S.-led technology, U.S.-led investment and U.S.-led regulatory changes will lead the way for the foreseeable future.

Interestingly while the overall performance of the European market was far better than initially suggested, there were the big variations, upwards and downwards, within individual markets. The UK, Germany and Poland have all been singled out for specific mention within this report and interestingly it seems that UK tobacco sales in 2012 were still significant at £15.1 billion. When you bear in mind the size of the overall European e-cigarette market is less than 10% of the size of the UK tobacco market we can only guess at the potential growth in years to come.

Is the mist beginning to clear?

If we look back just 12 months there were greater regulatory issues, there were more negative press comments and those with a positive voice about the electronic cigarette industry were being drowned out. While there is no suggestion that the industry has escaped these particular shackles it does seem as though the pressure is reducing. We are starting to see an array of useful medical research, comments from some of the more influential members of the healthcare industry and a growing togetherness from the electronic cigarette community.

There are still many issues to resolve, many myths to address and many untruths to correct but progress is being made, the industry is now moving towards the mass-market and finally the voice of the electronic cigarette community is being heard. Is it too much to ask for a balanced debate about the industry?

For more information on OK Electronic Cigarettes and the various products available please visit the OKCigs website.
17-04-2014 08:24 AM
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