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As Côte d’Ivoire emerges from years of internal conflict, political turmoil and economic instability, strong economic growth is expected, despite corruption problems and endemic poverty. The stability of the Central African Franc and low inflation bode well for economic development, while the relatively limited restrictions on the manufacture, marketing, distribution and consumption of tobacco provide fertile ground for sales growth in cigarettes and other categories.
This report analyses the market for tobacco in Côte d’Ivoire. For the purposes of the study, the market has been defined as follows:
Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco
Smokeless Tobacco and Vapour Products
Explanations of terminology used in this report are as follows:
GBO refers to Global Brand Owner, which is the ultimate owner of a brand.
NBO refers to National Brand Owner, which is the company licensed to distribute a brand on behalf of a GBO. The NBO may be a subsidiary of a GBO or it may be a completely separate company.
Retail refers to sales of tobacco through retail outlets including supermarkets, hypermarkets, discounters, convenience stores, internet and other store and non-store channels, as well as sales of tobacco through bar-tobacconists and hotels/restaurants/bars.
Duty-paid retail sales are legitimate sales with tax applied to the final price.
Illicit trade refers to sales of duty-not-paid (or DNP) tobacco.
Market sizes are researched at category level, lower data levels are modelled.
Although cross-border and duty-free sales are considered legitimate, they are excluded from duty-paid sales.
Illicit trade (DNP) tobacco refers to contraband, counterfeit and unbranded tobacco, as well as illicit whites.
Attitudes towards smoking and tobacco consumption in the Côte d’Ivoire are generally positive. Although more conservative members of the country’s population tend to consider smoking among women to be unacceptable, this is a view held by a declining minority of the country’s population. The currently favourable stance towards smoking and tobacco represents a change from the 1990s, when cigarette smoking was considered as unacceptable by many people in Côte d’Ivoire and attitudes are expected to continue improving due to the rising importance of the tobacco industry in the country.
According to the World Health Organisation report on the global tobacco epidemic, smoking prevalence among adults aged 15-49 in Côte d’Ivoire was 26.2% for men and 1.7% for women as at 31 December 2016. This significant discrepancy in the male and female smoking prevalence can be attributed mainly to the rather negative attitudes which still prevail with regards to women smoking in the country.
It should be noted that youth smoking prevalence in Côte d’Ivoire is higher than adult smoking prevalence, according to World Health Organisation data. Male youth smoking prevalence is at roughly the same level as male adult smoking prevalence, while youth female smoking prevalence is several times higher than adult female smoking prevalence.
There are no major anti-tobacco or anti-smoking organisations active in Côte d’Ivoire. Furthermore, despite the World Health Organisation reporting that the government of Côte d’Ivoire has undertaken anti-smoking campaigns as part of a comprehensive official tobacco control programme, industry sources have reported that the government is not involved in any concerted efforts to discourage people from smoking or to reduce tobacco use among the population.
There is a considerable level of new product development in cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire, not least as the lack of any ban on the direct advertising of cigarettes means that companies are free to promote their new launches and innovations.
Some of the most recent innovations in cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire include flavour capsules which give smokers the option to add menthol flavour to their cigarettes with the pressing of the capsule. One strong example of this is Craven A Click, which was the first such cigarette in the country when launched at the end of 2016.
In addition, new packaging formats are being launched with the aim of attracting new consumers who have never smoked before, a strategy which was pursued by Marlboro towards the end of the review period. In January 2016, Marlboro launched a new packaging design which displayed the name of the brand clearly in black, whilst the name was printed in white text on the front and thus less visible. Previously, the Marlboro Red brand had the name printed clearly in black on the front of the packaging.
Positive growth is expected to continue defining sales dynamics in Côte d’Ivoire’s tobacco industry over the forecast period, although growth rates are expected to be slower than over the review period. The main reason for ongoing positive growth is the general lack of regulation which applies to tobacco in the country generally, although the likelihood that some restrictions will be applied to the marketing and use of tobacco following the country’s 2010 ratification of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is likely to result in slower growth rates being seen over the forecast period.
There are strong regional variations in income levels and living standards in Côte d’Ivoire, with the population of the country’s southern coastal areas considerably more affluent than those living in the northern interior. This is related to much stronger urbanisation in southern Côte d’Ivoire as well as the fact that the north of the country has been marred by conflict and turmoil in recent years.
Nevertheless, cigarette smoking is common among consumers of all income levels. Low-income consumers purchase cheaper brands such as Craven A, Fine and Excellence and they often purchase cigarettes by the stick, while higher-income consumers tend to purchase packs of prestigious brands such as Marlboro and Dunhill.
There is a certain level of consumer loyalty in cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire. The country’s smokers tend to prefer a particular brand and they will thus be more receptive to new launches within that brand.
Cigar smoking is generally viewed as aspirational by Ivoirian consumers, while premium international cigarette brands such as Marlboro and Dunhill are often regarded as status symbols.
In addition, the smoking of traditional tobacco pipes is often considered a mark of status as it is associated with previous generations of European colonials, although this attitude is becoming less common as memories of Côte d’Ivoire’s colonial past fade.
The smoking of water pipes such as shisha and argileh is becoming more popular among young Ivoirian adults, especially in the country’s larger urban centres. Shisha smoking is considered to be a social activity and most of the pipe tobacco consumed in this way is purchased from the same on-trade outlets where people gather to smoke water pipes and socialise. All retail sales of pipe tobacco are accounted for by tobacco specialists.
The population of Côte d’Ivoire is relatively young but population growth is relatively slow compared with other African countries, at around 2% in 2016. The country has a high birth rate, however, with 35 births per thousand residents annually, although the birth rate is steadily declining. Crucially, smoking is more prevalent among children aged under 15 then among adults, according to World Health Organisation data and 21% of boys and 6% of girls used tobacco daily in 2013, compared with 19% of adult men and 2% of adult women. This suggests that there is solid ground for ongoing sales of cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire during the forecast period and over the longer term.
Cigarettes are widely available in numerous distribution channels in Côte d’Ivoire, although sales are dominated by independent small grocers and street vendors. In recent years, there has been a shift away from street vendors and towards modern grocery retailers channels such as forecourt retailers and supermarkets, mainly due to the development of modern retailing in urban areas.
Sales of cigars and cigarillos remain marginal in Côte d’Ivoire and these products are rarely seen for sale in normal retail channels, while sales of smoking tobacco are accounted for exclusively by tobacco specialists.
The forecast period is expected to see a further shift towards modern grocery retailers in the distribution of cigarettes as chained supermarkets and forecourt retailers continue to proliferate, particularly in urban areas in the south of the country. Nevertheless, it is likely that street vendors will remain a significant distribution channel for cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire, selling their products mainly by the stick to low-income consumers and those purchasing cigarettes on impulse.
Illicitly-traded cigarettes accounted for just 9% of total volume sales of cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire in 2016. Volume sales of illicitly-traded cigarettes declined by 8% over the course of the year, falling to 468 million sticks and this followed several years of very strong declines in the illegal trade, with a 69% decline registered in sales of illicitly-traded cigarettes over the course of the review period.
The main reason for this strong decline in the illicit cigarette trade is the concerted efforts of the government of Côte d’Ivoire to stem clandestine tobacco trading after the country’s descent into political crisis. This was the result of internecine conflict in the country’s northern regions between 2002 and 2011, which provided fertile ground for the proliferation of illegally traded cigarettes. At the peak of the illicit cigarette trade, an estimated 35% of total cigarette volume sales were accounted for by non-official products.
Nowadays, Côte d’Ivoire’s illicit cigarette rate is driven by the superior margins on offer to distributors for selling illegal cigarettes on the one hand and the pressures coming on the disposable incomes of many of the country’s citizens on the other, pressures which are driving demand for low-priced illegal cigarettes.
The vast majority, if not all, of illicitly-traded cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire are clandestinely imported from neighbouring countries. Moreover, due to high excise taxes, it is unlikely that Ivory Coast Côte d’Ivoire is a source of cigarettes traded illegally in other countries.
It is common to see street vendors offering illicitly-traded cigars and cigarillos on the streets of Côte d’Ivoire’s larger cities, although it is unlikely that the sales are significant enough to have any major impact on the country’s legitimate tobacco industry.
The legislation relating to the distribution, sale and use of tobacco in Côte d’Ivoire is considerably more relaxed than in many other countries around the world. While recent years have seen governments in numerous countries in Africa and other parts of the world and a clause which place limitations on the activities of tobacco companies and tobacco users, Côte d’Ivoire remains a country in which the tobacco industry and the use of tobacco among consumers remain largely unregulated, despite the country having become a party to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on 11 November 2010. Furthermore, no major changes were seen in the country’s tobacco control laws during 2015 or 2016.
There is no minimum legal smoking age in Côte d’Ivoire and, crucially, there is no minimum age at which cigarettes can be purchased, meaning that retailers can legally sell cigarettes to children. World Health Organisation figures put youth tobacco use at 19.1% at the end of 2016, with 20.9% of under aged males and 5.7% of underage females reported as current smokers. Crucially, the female youth smoking prevalence in Côte d’Ivoire is considerably higher than adult female smoking prevalence. Furthermore, industry sources have indicated that it is typical for people in Côte d’Ivoire to begin smoking at the age of 15.
There are no limits placed on the amount of tar permitted per cigarette sold in Côte d’Ivoire. In addition, there are no laws in the country which require tobacco packaging and labelling to avoid the use of misleading terms applying products are less harmful than others such as “low tar” “light”, “ultra-light” or “mild”.
Generally speaking, those living in urban areas of Côte d’Ivoire favour what are perceived as milder cigarette brands, notably Fine, while those living in suburban and rural areas tend to prefer stronger cigarettes such as the Craven A brand.
There are no official restrictions on the direct advertising of tobacco in Côte d’Ivoire and tobacco companies and brands are technically not forbidden from advertising on television and radio, in the print media and online. However, there has been a voluntary code of conduct for tobacco advertising in place since 1995, which effectively places a ban on the use of broadcast, print and online media channels to promote cigarettes and tobacco products. Nevertheless, it is still permitted for tobacco companies to use outdoor advertising formats such as billboards and in-store advertising to promote cigarette brands.
In addition, tobacco companies and cigarette brands are free to sponsor sports and cultural events, sports teams and clubs and other entities, although the voluntary code of conduct for tobacco advertisers discourages this practice.
Furthermore, there is no ban on the use of promotional discounts, the distribution of free tobacco products with the tradition of free gifts such as cigarette lighters and ashtrays bearing the names and logos of cigarette brands and the voluntary code of conduct is silent on this practice.
This all means that, unlike in other countries, tobacco companies operating in Côte d’Ivoire are still relatively free to advertise and promote their brands and products and this makes new product development considerably easier, as companies active in the tobacco industry still have some means to publicise and promote new launches.
The Ivoirian legal system mandates that health warnings appear on the packaging of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, and these warnings must be printed in French, the official language of Côte d’Ivoire. Nevertheless, there is no requirement for graphic health warnings and nor are there any rigorous stipulations relating to the size or positioning of text warnings or the style or colour of the font used.
There is a partial ban on smoking in public in Côte d’Ivoire. Decree 79-477 of 6 June 1979 imposes a ban on smoking in all educational, health and entertainment facilities, although this is not a complete ban as separate areas can be set aside for smoking. Similarly, although smoking is banned on public transport, there are special areas set aside for smoking on trains and buses and in station and terminal buildings.
Importantly, there is no ban at all on smoking in enclosed workplaces and there is also no ban on smoking in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. As a result, all workers and those enjoying drinks and food in on-trade outlets run the risk of exposure to second-hand smoke.
Taxation and duty levies
Recent years have seen substantial increases in the amount of excise tax levied on tobacco products in Côte d’Ivoire. As recently as 2013, the excise tax levied on a pack of cigarettes in Côte d’Ivoire was just 13.1%; however, 2016 saw the rate of tobacco excise tax rise from 25% to 45%, among the highest in West Africa. In addition, all tobacco products attract 18% sales tax, as well as the 5% special football tax and 2% special tobacco tax.
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Chart 1 Tobacco in Côte d’Ivoire in 2016 Chart 2 Côte d’Ivoire Socioeconomic Trends
Taxation and duty levies
Chart 3 Tobacco: Traditional Retailer Chart 4 Tobacco: Traditional Retailer: Kiosk Chart 5 Tobacco: Traditional Retailer: Street Vendor
Table 1 Sales of Tobacco by Category: Volume 2011-2016 Table 2 Sales of Tobacco by Category: Value 2011-2016 Table 3 Sales of Tobacco by Category: % Volume Growth 2011-2016 Table 4 Sales of Tobacco by Category: % Value Growth 2011-2016 Table 5 Forecast Sales of Tobacco by Category: Volume 2016-2021 Table 6 Forecast Sales of Tobacco by Category: Volume 2016-2021 Table 7 Forecast Sales of Tobacco by Category: Value 2016-2021 Table 8 Forecast Sales of Tobacco by Category: % Volume Growth 2016-2021 Table 9 Forecast Sales of Tobacco by Category: % Value Growth 2016-2021
Chart 6 Cigarettes: Modern Retailer: Independent Small Grocer Chart 7 Cigarettes: Traditional Retailer: Street Vendor Chart 8 Cigarettes: Traditional Retailer: Street Vendor
Table 10 Sales of Cigarettes: Volume 2011-2016 Table 11 Sales of Cigarettes by Category: Value 2011-2016 Table 12 Sales of Cigarettes: % Volume Growth 2011-2016 Table 13 Sales of Cigarettes by Category: % Value Growth 2011-2016 Table 14 Forecast Sales of Cigarettes: Volume 2016-2021 Table 15 Forecast Sales of Cigarettes by Category: Value 2016-2021 Table 16 Forecast Sales of Cigarettes: % Volume Growth 2016-2021 Table 17 Forecast Sales of Cigarettes by Category: % Value Growth 2016-2021 Table 18 NBO Company Shares of Cigarettes: % Volume 2012-2016 Table 19 LBN Brand Shares of Cigarettes: % Volume 2013-2016 Table 20 Sales of Cigarettes by Distribution Format: % Volume 2011-2016 Summary 1 Cigarettes Pricing
CIGARS, CIGARILLOS AND SMOKING TOBACCO
Chart 9 Smoking Tobacco: Traditional Retailer Chart 10 Cigars: Modern Retailer Chart 11 Smoking Tobacco: Nakhla Tobacco Brand Chart 12 Smoking Tobacco: Traditional Retailer
Table 21 Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: Volume 2011-2016 Table 22 Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: Value 2011-2016 Table 23 Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: % Volume Growth 2011-2016 Table 24 Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: % Value Growth 2011-2016 Table 25 Forecast Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: Volume 2016-2021 Table 26 Forecast Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: Value 2016-2021 Table 27 Forecast Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: % Volume Growth 2016-2021 Table 28 Forecast Sales of Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco by Category: % Value Growth 2016-2021 Table 29 NBO Company Shares of Smoking Tobacco: % Volume 2012-2016 Table 30 LBN Brand Shares of Smoking Tobacco: % Volume 2013-2016 Table 31 Distribution of Smoking Tobacco by Format: % Volume 2011-2016 Summary 2 Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco Pricing
SMOKELESS TOBACCO AND VAPOUR PRODUCTS
Summary 3 Smokeless Tobacco and Vapour Products Pricing
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