Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, retail volume sales fell, recording a 5% decline compared to only 1% the previous year. In response to the pandemic, the government put restrictions in place to avert the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 partnered with ongoing health concerns in 2020 to lead to lower consumption of cigarettes throughout the year. Growing health awareness was already impacting sales of tobacco in Kenya, with the outbreak of COVID-19, a respiratory issue, further heightening consumers concerns and reducing smoking prevalence.
One of the impacts of the pandemic in Kenya was the change in consumers spending habits. With some consumers out of work and others working from home, reduced incomes were seen due to pay cuts and job losses, while others had a tighter focus on their budgets due to growing financial uncertainty.
It will continue to be a challenging year for cigarette sales in 2021, with the outbreak of COVID-19 continuing to impact movements, with restrictions remaining in place. Therefore, it will not be until restrictions are eased that there will be a recovery in sales of cigarettes linked to social smoking and reduced financial concerns.
Due to growing price sensitivity in the country, sales through illicit trade will continue to grow, despite government efforts to contain it. This will impact volume sales across the coming years, contributing to the decline in growth.
In Kenya, there are only two key players in the tobacco industry, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Mastermind Tobacco. BAT has remained the biggest player across the review period, but over the coming years, it is set to face tough competition from Mastermind Tobacco - especially when it comes to the sale of its economy brands such as Rocket.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Cigarettes industry in Kenya with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Cigarettes research and analysis database.
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