Good news for the e-cigarette industry. Signs show that e-cigarettes are becoming more popular and that more retailers are now carrying e-cigarette products.

An article in Convenience Store Decisions indicated that people turn to e-cigarettes because of the restrictions imposed on tobacco smoking. Andrew Kerstein said e-cigarettes are not subject to those restrictions and allows smokers to use them indoor.

Kerstein is chairman of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) in the US. He also owns five Smoker’s Haven stores in New Jersey.

Andrea Myers echoes the same sentiments. As board member of NATO, Myers said people are looking for a more convenient and cleaner smoking experience and this is what e-cigarettes bring. The innovations of the e-cigarette industry like the soft-tip version have also attracted smokers.

Myers is also Kocolene Marketing LLC executive vice president. Kocolene owns a chain of convenience stores that carry a few brands e-cigarettes and e-cigars.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle also showed that retailers are becoming more receptive in placing e-cigarette brands on the shelves.

In a survey conducted by the International Electronic Cigarette Manufacturers Association, the results showed that retailers are allocating more space for e-cigarettes, especially those that come from first-class manufacturers.

The main driving force for the bigger space allocation is that e-cigarettes give a higher gross margin of at least 25 percent. Compared to the margins of traditional tobacco products, retailers get to earn more.

The challenge of the e-cigarette industry, however, is that many retailers are still not aware of what e-cigarettes are. Survey results also showed that the e-cigarette industry tends to be a mixture of both good and bad products and this has led to the reluctance of some retailers to carry the products.

Quality, aside from profit margin, remains an important factor on whether retailers would carry e-cigarette products. The survey indicated that big convenience store chains like 7-11 and Wal-Mart only partners with first-class electronic cigarette manufacturers because they are assured of stricter quality controls and have better supply capability.

Retailers are also not blind to the increasing popularity of e cigarettes and it would be foolish not to carry the products.

The Action on Smoking and Tobacco (ASH) in the UK said the number of smokers who switched to e-cigarettes has doubled from 2010 to 2012. The group also said that the World Health Organization estimates that e-cigarette smokers would reach as many as one million by 2013.

Even the high street is joining the frenzy with the opening of the first e-cigarette shop Smoke No Smoke. Store manager Jim Lacey said that since he opened shop, he has been getting as many as 130 e-cigarette customers a week.

Lacey said the reason for coming to the store varies like smokers wanting to quit or reduce nicotine intake.

As e-cigarettes become more popular, expect that more retailers will also carry the different e-cigarette brands. It just makes good business sense.


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