Asian Media Group’s first Vape Business Conference was held on July 3 at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in Kensington, central London.
In his keynote address, Aditya Solanki, Head of Digital, Asian Media Group, explained: “At AMG we have noticed the changes in the retail industry and have listened to our readers. The vaping industry has started to boom alongside the decline in traditional tobacco products and retailers have had to adjust. Vape is a great opportunity to replace revenues and make more profits.”
The conference introduced an exciting new venture and direction for AMG, taking account of the changes Aditya detailed. “We have a long-term vision for Vape Business to make businesses like yours more profitable,” he promised. “We will be launching a weekly newsletter that will contain the latest news, industry comments and opinions, and product news,” he announced. A full B2B online vape portal will follow.
Shefali Solanki, Brand Champion,took the stage to address retailers in the audience about the content of the conference itself: to explain and educate. “At times vaping can be complex and confusing, with a mind-boggling array of products to choose from,” said Keith. “I hope that today will help you navigate some of the key challenges you have and encourage you to embrace the huge opportunities vaping represents.”
Huge opportunities were the theme of the day, and learning how to take advantage of them the purpose of the gathering. It was just a start, as conference chairman Andy Marino explained in his opening remarks, but surely the start of something big.
He said that highly taxed cigarette sales are in steep decline with the margins on tobacco products only around eight per cent, while vape products are cheaper, sales are rocketing and margins on them are often 50 per cent and upwards.
Numbers of smokers are dropping dramatically for various reasons, partly due to legislative discouragement (smoking bans; white packs, often leading to bootlegging; banning menthol cigarettes and packs of ten, etc), and partly due to changes in demographics and social attitudes.
The tobacco companies have pivoted swiftly in recent years, devoting themselves to securing a future for their employees and the industry by taking advantage of new and healthier technology. If anything, they seem genuinely relieved to be able to supply a better and far less harmful product. It now transpires – thanks to a leaked proposal – that the government has ambitious plans in place to eradicate smoking in ten years. It looks as if the tobacco industry is fine with that.
Andy said that statistics show almost all vapers are either smokers or ex-smokers, and that is where the vape market – which we estimate will grow speedily for ten years and carry on level after that for at least another ten – chiefly lies. Nonsmoking youngsters do not appear to be taking up vaping very much at all.
But Vaping is nonetheless set to be a vast market. It has grown by nearly 500 per cent in the last five years, from 700,000 vapers in 2012 to over three million now. And there are still nearly eight million smokers in the UK who could switch to vaping. That is where future vape business will be.
And if vaping persuades enough people to quit smoking – research shows it is three times more effective than gum and patches – then with smoking-related deaths at roughly 90,000 a year, vaping could save as many as a million lives over the next decade.
Profits and better health, concluded Andy, is what Vape Business 2019 was all about, and the message should be that if you liked smoking, you’ll love vaping.
This article also appears in the August issue of Pharmacy Business.