Tobacco Sales: Where the Gains Are

Electronic cigarettes jump 59.1% in units sold

CHICAGO — Tobacco sales rose in convenience stores by more than 2.7% in 2019 to hit $72.2 billion, but units declined 2%, according to IRI. Unit sales for cigarettes, the largest segment with $55.8 billion in sales, fell more than 4%.

The fastest-growing subcategory for another year in a row was electronic cigarettes, jumping 59.1% in units sold and up 70.9% in dollar sales vs. 2018, according to IRI. San Francisco-based Juul Labs led the growth, continuing a market domination that began in 2017, according to shipment data from Temple, Texas-based McLane Co.

Spitless tobacco was the other bright spot in the tobacco category, with unit sales growing more than 44% and dollar sales up more than 49%, according to IRI.

Nielsen data showed a 5.1% decline in cigarette volume in 2019 vs. 2018, with an increase in vapor volume of 48.2%. The overall tobacco category in 2019, excluding tobacco alternatives such as e-cigarettes, took in $60 billion in sales, down 1.2%. E-cigarettes brought in $4.6 billion last year, up 46.1%, according to Nielsen.

C-store sales, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2019

CategoryC-store sales ($ millions)PCYA*Unit sales (millions)PCYA*
Chewing tobacco/snuff$7,128.73.9%1,297.3(1.6%)
Spitless tobacco$627.749.4%120.444.0%
Total smokeless tobacco$7,756.46.5%1,417.71.1%
Electronic smoking devices$4,831.570.9%335.659.1%
Smoking accessories$281.3(0.3%)154.9(2.0%)
Pipe tobacco$78.9(1.5%)10.1(1.3%)
Roll-you-own tobacco$42.0(6.0%)5.8(10.7%)
Total all other tobacco products$120.9(3.1%)15.9(4.9%)

Source: IRI

* Percent change from a year ago

tobacco stat

Click here to review complete category sales data. 

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