investing in the e-cigarette industry
Investor Intelligence

Investing in the E-cigarette Industry

by Liat Piazza , Investor Insights Manager 2 Min.
October 13, 2019 | Updated August 2, 2022

The summer has been hot with news on regulations and mergers that have impacted the tobacco industry. Following tighter regulation for e-cigarettes and Philip Morris International’s aborted merger with Altria, Similarweb has explored some digital insights behind the e-cigarette industry:

  • Visits to juul.com that ended in a sale experienced a downward trend between June and August 2019
  • Total traffic to all IQOS domains globally increased by 33% YOY in Q3 2019
  • Traffic to IQOS domains in Japan is experiencing a downward trend, whilst in Russia this is growing

Altria owns a 35% stake in Juul, and the number of converted visits, visits that end in a sale, to juul.com in the US, has recently started to experience a downward trend. This indicates that regulatory and health concerns are starting to have an impact on sales of e-cigarette products.

Philip Morris International’s (PMI) decision to continue focusing on its own heated tobacco product, IQOS, appears to have been a smart initiative. In Q3 2019 total traffic to all IQOS domains globally increased by 33% YoY. Although this is not necessarily an indicator of sales, website traffic is a strong directional indicator for consumer interest.

Where is the e-cigarette industry growth coming from?

Japan has historically seen the most amount of traffic to IQOS domains. However Japan’s share of total IQOS traffic has started to significantly decline, making room for Russia to be the fastest growing market for IQOS in terms of online traffic share. At the end of Q3 2019 website visits to iqos.ru accounted for 16.5% of total visits to IQOS domains, representing a 49% YOY growth in traffic share. Japan’s traffic share to IQOS domains had declined by 29% YOY at the end of Q3 2019.

Conclusion

To conclude – PMI’s decision not to pursue the Altria merger and have Juul integrated into part of its portfolio may be a sensible one, given that Juul’s performance online appears to be wavering. PMI’s focus on IQOS appears to have been a good decision, based on the strong global website traffic growth.

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