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Home to more than 13 million smokers, France is one of the largest consumers of tobacco in Europe.

On Tuesday 7th February 2017, auditor Ernst & Young published an update to the 2016 study of the e-cigarette market. Undertaken on behalf of Nicoventures, makers of Vype and subsidiary of British American Tobacco, the report analysed trends in the vape market, as well as the behaviours of vapers, in seven countries. The study focused on France, the UK, Russia, Italy, Poland, Germany and South Korea, constituting 75% of the global market excluding the US and China. Ernst & Young (EY) surveyed 2000 participants aged between 18 and 64


The number of vapers rose by 120% in three years

The number of e-cigarette users among the French and British adult populations rose by 3.2% and 4.2% respectively; it is in those two countries that these devices are used the most.
The data is encouraging: more than 4 out of every 10 vapers attest to regularly using their electronic cigarettes; expressed as a percentage, this stands at 49% of vapers in France, 52% in the UK, and 63% in South Korea.
The proportion of ‘double users’ fell by 63% in 2013 and by 43% in 2016. Former smokers, who represented just 29% of vapers in 2015, now constitute nearly half (44%) of this group in the seven markets in which the study was conducted.


75% of vapers are aged thirty or over, and use flavours other than ‘tobacco’

Those aged between 30 and 64 represent three quarters of all e-cigarette users, 38% of which are aged between 30 and 44 years. E-cigarette use is marginally higher amongst males than females (53/47).
Last year, two thirds of vapers used sophisticated customisable devices, compared with just 55% in 2013. The most popular e-liquid flavours are tobacco, herbal and fruit flavours, with three quarters of vapers opting for flavours other than tobacco.

The numbers clearly demonstrate the increase in the market’s power: between 2013 and 2015 the number of vapers rose from 2.8 million to 5.1 million, a growth of 86%. The UK and France are home to the greatest numbers of vapers, representing 4% and 3.5% of the total population respectively.

With this number of users, the personal vaporiser market equates to 20% of that of tobacco in the UK, compared with 12% in France.


The 8 million smokers who have yet to try an e-cigarette represent a vital springboard for future market growth

The French network of e-cigarette sales comprises around 2000 specialised boutiques, as well as a large number of independent retailers, distributed unequally throughout the country.
In the current climate, only firmly-established, structured supply networks will be equipped to continue their development within the French market.

What drives a smoker to switch to an electronic cigarette?

La protection de la santé arrive en premier. 51% des vapeurs utilisent la cigarette électronique parce qu’elle est “moins nocive que la cigarette à combustion”. 49% parce que le vaporisateur personnel les aide à réduire leur consommation de cigarettes classiques. Le prix des vaporisateurs est aussi une motivation.


In 10 years, market size should have multiplied by 30

In 2009, turnover generated by e-cigarettes in the seven countries included in the study was valued at 630 million euros; in 2015, this figure was estimated at 7.5 billion euros. Ernst & Young estimates that by 2019 this figure should exceed 20 billion euros.

Tobacco sales weakened in 2016 (source: Le Figaro)

The decrease in sales observed by tobacconists does not necessarily equate to a decrease in consumption.

xactly 44.92 billion cigarettes were delivered to tobacconists in France last year, representing a decrease of 1.2% compared with 2015, according to figures provided by distributor Logista recently released by AFP. In value terms, cigarette sales dropped by 1.1%, to 15.17 billion euros.

“The advent of ‘plain packaging’ to the French market in 2017, November’s Moi(s) sans tabac initiative, and the rise of the electronic cigarette all affected tobacco sales in 2016,” surmises Bertrand Dautzenberg, pneumonologist at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (Paris) and president of French Office of Smoking Prevention (Office français de prévention du tabagisme- OFT). “A decrease in tobacco sales corresponds to a decrease in consumption,” explains Professor Yves Martinet, president of the National Committee Against Smoking (Comité national contre le tabagisme- CNCT).

Which e-liquids are most popular?

16% of vapers use e-liquids containing no nicotine. Tobacco-flavoured e-liquids are popular, representing 28% of the market (notably in France, where tobacco flavours represent 34% of sales). Fruit-flavoured liquids follow with 23%, then ‘floral and herbal’ flavours (20%), according to the analysis of the Ernst & Young study.

With the advent of more efficient and powerful devices, usage is trending towards a decrease in nicotine content. In 2013, 77% of vapers used e-liquids containing more than 11mg of nicotine per millilitre. In 2015, this percentage stood at no more than 11%. It follows, therefore, that the number of vapers using e-liquids containing between 1mg and 11mg of nicotine per millilitre has skyrocketed, increasing from 11% to 73% in two years. Moreover, 16% of vapers purchased nicotine-free e-liquids in 2015, compared with 12% in 2013.


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