Retailers Gauge Tobacco Products, Promotions

By 
Angel Abcede, Senior Editor/Tobacco, CSP

Cigarettes on shelf

CHICAGO -- Convenience retailers focused on the tobacco category can hear the latest news regarding taxes and regulation from the federal to local levels by joining a CSP-hosted webinar on Thursday, May 11.

Despite the upbeat signals that the Trump administration is sending the business community, in general, state and local taxation and regulation continue to dog retailers into 2017. Everything from raising the purchasing age of tobacco to 21 to new rules on zoning and digital coupons are emerging in the form of proposed legislation. In addition to those concerns, the relative uncertainty surrounding the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under President Trump is anything but settled.

Tobacco analyst Nik Modi, managing director of tobacco, household products and beverages for RBC Capital Markets, New York, and Joe Teller, category manager for Swedish Match, Stockholm, Sweden, will share their industry-leading insights, strategies and observations.

Their presentation will include results from a CSP-RBC retailer survey conducted in April. Here are a few predictions from that survey …

Gauging optimism

Marlboro cigarettes

When asked to rate cigarette brands in terms of how optimistic retailers were about their future, retailers singled out four brands. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highly optimistic, Marlboro Red and Marlboro Gold topped the list with an average 7.4 rating. Newport Green and Santa Fe Natural American Spirits tied for second place with a 6.7 average.

Predicting promotional activity

Cigarette smoking

When asked to predict near-term promotional activity from tobacco manufacturers, most retailer respondents said they expect “about the same” (52%) level from suppliers. The second-largest group (33%) is predicting a decrease, while the remaining 15% of respondents are anticipating an increase.

Heat-not-burn technology

Heat-not-burn

Retailers were also asked how receptive they thought consumers would be to the emerging “heat-not-burn” stick technology, a nicotine-delivery method much like vaping that’s providing an alternative to traditional, combustible cigarettes.

The majority (73%) of retailer respondents thought consumers would be less receptive. The remaining retailers (27%) thought more consumers would be receptive.

Click here to register for the May 11 webinar.