In 2021, the Australian government continued to push forward with new regulations for nicotine-based e-vapour products, which as of October 2021, require a prescription to purchase from local retailers or import from overseas. E-vapour products continued to be the most dynamic category in tobacco, with consumers shifting from cigarettes as a way to limit their nicotine intake or quit smoking.
Increasing excise taxes, economic pressures, and declining smoking prevalence continued to subdue demand for retail volume sales of cigarettes in the country in 2021. Moreover, migration, especially of younger consumers, to vaping provides a further challenge.
Despite COVID-19 implications, there was little change in the competitive landscape in 2021, with many of the trends being a continuation of those already evident pre-pandemic. Multinationals British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris continued to dominate sales of cigarettes in Australia in 2021.
While Australia was relatively successful in combating the initial COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and enjoyed relatively few trading and gathering restrictions, 2021 and the emergence of the Delta variant had a significant impact on retail, with the entire country entering into a hard lockdown in Q3. This meant that only essential services were permitted to operate, including supermarkets, petrol stations and convenience stores, while Victoria remained under an extended form of lockdown until late October.
Despite the disruption caused to society in general, COVID-19 has not had a significant short-term impact on demand for tobacco in Australia. Nevertheless, it has pushed many consumers to reflect on their lifestyle choices and how these might affect their health in the longer term, and as life starts to return to relative normality, many of them are expected to attempt to quit smoking.
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Data and analysis in this report provides further detailed coverage dedicated to the following key categories, where applicable:
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Passport Tobacco covers the seven major tobacco categories: Cigarettes, Cigars & Cigarillos, Smoking tobacco (made up of Pipe tobacco and RYO tobacco), Smokeless Tobacco (snuff and chewing tobacco), E-Vapour Products (closed and open); Heated Tobacco; and Tobacco Free Oral Nicotine. Smoking paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, lighters or matches, etc., are not included, nor are nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, which are part of Euromonitor's Passport Consumer Healthcare database.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Tobacco research and analysis database.
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