Retail volume sales of cigarettes increased in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a rather unusual trend as sales of cigarettes have tended to drop in Sweden over the years due to the general decrease in smoking prevalence in the country. Prior to 2020, demand for cigarettes was waning in the face of rising health awareness, increasingly strict regulation around marketing activities, the extended public smoking ban and increased taxation.
With an extensive and diverse product portfolio, leading player JTI Sweden AB saw the strongest volume sales growth in 2020, driven partly by its sales of menthol-containing products, despite the characterising flavour ban from May 2020. The company launched Camel Activate in June 2020.
The Second EU Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD2) bans all flavoured tobacco and cigarettes, whether the flavour is added to the tobacco or found in the cigarette filter. As the total menthol ban applies from 20 May 2020, flavour capsule (all flavours) and menthol (non-capsule) cigarettes have not been sold in Sweden since that date.
Cigarette companies expect that pre-COVID-19 trends will continue once the pandemic reaches an end, which means a stable but slow decline of cigarette consumption as more and more consumers either start or switch to alternatives, be it snus, nicotine pouches, vaping products, or heated tobacco. Volume sales of cigarettes are expected to continue to fall throughout the forecast period, at a slowing rate as smoking prevalence declines, with legislation further restricting available public spaces in which consumers can smoke, and more smokers predicted to seek less harmful options.
Cigarette manufacturers will need to amend their packaging designs with specific markings to inform consumers about the presence of plastic in the products, means of inappropriate waste disposal and the negative impact of littering. This is due to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/21511 published by the European Commission on 22 December 2020 on harmonised marking specifications on certain single-use plastic products, within the overall aim to reduce the impact of certain plastic products on the environment.
In the forecast period, cigarette companies will continue to launch alternative products in order to keep their clients in the face of tightening regulation and the decline in smoking prevalence. This has already been seen, for example, with Camel Activate, Rizla Flavour Infusion, and Iqos.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Cigarettes industry in Sweden 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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