2020 was a challenging year for volume sales of cigarettes, which recorded a volume decline of 4% due to the substantial increase of taxation. However, COVID-19 significantly limited the expected damages, with consumers rushing to purchase cigarettes from tobacconists from March and October, with consumers stockpiling during times of lockdown and curfews, with many concerned that the outbreak would impact supply issues.
The scheduled total ban of menthol flavoured cigarettes in Western Europe happened in May 2020, with French buyers of menthol’s cigarettes unable to purchase these items any longer. Habitual smokers of menthol cigarettes are often extremely loyal to the products, with the majority of these consumers not enjoying other cigarettes.
In 2020, Philip Morris continued to secure the lion’s share of the cigarette landscape. This was thanks to its popular brands Marlboro and Philip Morris, both of which have huge brand equity.
Across the review period, there were some political promises made about lower and less frequent taxation in the short term. However, in January 2021, a new taxation was already settled.
Due to ingoing price sensitivity, a migration to rolling tobacco, and particularly tubing tobacco, will be seen across the forecast period. Tobacconists, which dominate sales of high-risk products in France, will be negatively impacted by the ongoing decline of customer traffic for cigarettes, and a rise in price points is significant, especially for price-sensitive consumers or those on a budget.
Over 2017-2020, there were at least five tax increases per year, according to French legislation and manufacturers. Subsequently, price increases are so high that the price difference between premium brands (EUR10.
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This report originates from Passport, our Cigarettes research and analysis database.
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