The prevalence of smoking in Belgium continues to decrease due to health concerns. This continues to cause volume sales of cigarettes decline.
Smoking prevalence is set to keep declining slightly over 2018-2023, due to rising health concerns, subsequent smoke-free movements and stricter regulation. Many consumers who quit or reduce their cigarette smoking will switch to e-vapour products, with the consumption of the latter set to rise.
In the context of rising prices, increasing health concerns and a lack of innovation in cigarettes, more and more cigarette smokers have started to mix cigarettes and e-vapour products. The reasons for this shift are varied: some smokers have started vaping in order to quit cigarettes; some are giving vaping a try and are smoking both products; and some have been attracted by the sheer novelty of vaping.
There are more and more governmental demands on cigarette players, already under pressure from higher taxes. For instance, in late 2018 it was reported that the Brussels regional government planned to ask the cigarette industry to pay the cost of having discarded cigarette stubs removed from the capital’s streets.
In Belgium, plain packaging for tobacco is due to appear in 2020. With innovation possibilities already limited owing to strict regulations, plain packaging will give fewer differentiation opportunities for manufacturers, leading to either a decline in average unit prices or a shift to top-of-mind brands.
Although the Belgian tobacco industry is constrained by very strict regulations, there is no state monopoly on the production of cigarettes. The industry is dominated by privately owned companies.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Tobacco market research database.