NEW YORK -- A showdown may be brewing in the smokeless-tobacco arena as major brands take turns striking blows with new flavors, according to one analyst.
Over New York-based Nielsen’s latest four-week reporting period, Altria Group’s Copenhagen brand continued to outpace Reynolds American’s Grizzly, with Copenhagen increasing 12.7% in sales growth over Grizzly’s 2.3%, said Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience-store research for Wells Fargo Securities, New York.
Writing in her newsletter, Herzog attributed the Copenhagen increase to the success of its Copenhagen Mint product, which she said had a successful national expansion in the second quarter of this year. As such, Copenhagen market share increased 250 basis points year over year to 35% vs. Grizzly decreasing 60 basis points to 24.7%, she said.
The battle will only heat up: Grizzly is set to introduce a new dark-mint flavor in the third quarter of 2016. “We expect Grizzly to put up a strong fight,” Herzog said.
In other OTP news, Nielsen numbers showed e-cigarette dollar sales, led by VUSE and MarkTen XL brands, rose a solid 16% in the research firm's recent four-week reporting period. Reynolds American, Winston-Salem, N.C., saw its VUSE product increase in dollar share by 558 basis points year over year to 38.4%, “reflecting solid consumer response to recent format enhancements and ongoing innovation,” Herzog said.
For Richmond, Va.-based Altria Group, its MarkTen XL is “holding its own” at 15% dollar share vs. 15.5% last month, with its performance “due to intense promotional activity behind the brand,” Herzog said.