COVID-19 led to changes in consumers’ smoking behaviour and delayed plans for cessation, indirectly benefiting sales of tobacco in Taiwan in 2021. The Taiwanese government has been promoting smoking cessation in the last couple of years, taking advantage of the popular consensus on epidemic prevention and general health awareness.
Domestic sales channels continued to be the preference for cigarettes purchases, especially for those seeking premium cigarettes. Those who usually bought high-priced brands through duty-free stores in airports had to embrace domestic sales channels due to the lack of travel opportunities and therefore access to duty-free premium products.
COVID-19 reduced illicit trade in Taiwan, with volume sales recording strong double-digit decline in 2020 and further low sales in 2021. This was due to the forced closure of international borders which negatively impacted the movement of goods.
The Taiwanese authorities will continue to be active in discouraging the usage of tobacco products via both health campaigns and enforceable restrictions that limit consumers’ smoking occasions. Therefore, total volume sales are set to decline over the forecast period.
To stay relevant, tobacco companies will continue to rebrand products and try to create an attractive modern image through flavoured cigarettes. Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation, for instance, has launched several fruity cigarettes such as LaRose Green and is attempting to shake off the outdated brand image of Long Life and Gentle.
Over the forecast period, female smokers are expected to continue to attract attention from tobacco companies. The negative perception of female smokers in Taiwan is changing with rising feminism and an increasingly female-friendly culture.
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RETAIL SALES OF DUTY PAID CIGARETTES The definition of cigarettes for the purposes of this study is duty-paid, machine manufactured white-stick products. This does not exclude brands of cigarettes that do not use white paper but it is designed to exclude the volume of non-machine manufactured products such as bidis/beedis (India) and papirosy (Russia), and other smoking products made with tobacco but that either do not resemble cigarettes as recognised in the US or Europe, or those that are not machine manufactured. The exclusion of these products is intended to give a more accurate picture of the "true" market for cigarettes and cigars which has been distorted in official statistics and published reports because of the inclusion of hybrid products. NB Please note that due to its central importance and integration into the industry mainstream, Indonesia’s market data does include hand-rolled kreteks DUTY-FREE sales are excluded from retail sales, as are herbal cigarettes. ILLICIT TRADE CIGARETTES Not included in retail sales, but split out separately in volume terms only. Defined as non-duty paid cigarettes (includes smuggled & counterfeit/fake products combined). Legitimate cross-border sales are considered duty-paid. Sales arising from a foreign national purchasing cheaper cigarettes in bulk in a neighbouring country for personal use and exported back are attributed to the country where the purchase is made (e.g. bulk cigarette sales by British nationals in France are attributed to France).See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Cigarettes research and analysis database.
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