Smoking tobacco sales decreased substantially in 2020. The main reason for that was the closure of the borders during lockdown and the sanitary measures that followed.
Despite falling sales overall, national consumption of smoking tobacco did not decline in the year. Smokers smoked less on the go and had more time to roll or make their own cigarette.
Cigars and cigarillos were not covered by the new legislation on plain packaging introduced in early 2020, although the government may decide to include these products in the future. The most popular flavour for cigars and cigarillos is vanilla, as this has become a favourite following the ban on menthol cigarettes.
Smoking tobacco is expected to continue to decline in the forecast period. The increases in excise planned by the government to be implemented over three consecutive years are the main reason for this.
The enforced closure of tobacco specialists during the pandemic has been encouraging many consumers to switch to other tobacco products, whilst the permanent closure of some of these outlets will make it more difficult for some to acquire their favourite, specialist brands. This may also lead to a narrower offering of cigars and cigarillos going forward, as retailers such as supermarkets focus on the more popular brands, whilst manufacturers may choose to cut back on the number of limited editions they launch and rationalise their portfolios.
Smoking tobacco is poised to perform better than it did over the review period albeit still decline in volume sales terms in the forecast period. Smoking tobacco is traditionally perceived as offering value for money and is on general sale in convenience stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, all of which remained open during lockdown.
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This report originates from Passport, our Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco research and analysis database.
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