Vaporizers Cutting In To E-Cigarette Market Share

Don’t look now but the e-cigarette craze is starting to evolve faster than Big Tobacco and power man government regulators can react. While sales of what we’ll call for lack of a better term ‘traditional’ e-cigarettes is still strong there is a growing trend toward the use of vaporizers. Industry analysts are suggesting that vaporizers now represent as much as 50% of all e-cigarette sales and are growing much faster than ‘traditional’ e-cigs.

It seems counterintuitive that consumers would prefer a product that is larger, bulkier and less convenient to carry around but that’s exactly what is happening here. Vaporizers are larger–like a really large fountain pen–and have bigger batteries meaning that they last longer than ‘traditional’ e-cigarettes. They are also refillable and hold more liquid. The vaporizer liquid comes in hundreds of flavors and trying these flavors is becoming something of an aficionado hobby like cigars.

As vaporizers start to increase in popularity the popularity of ‘traditional’ e-cigarettes may be slowing. According to Wells Fargo sales of e-cigarettes at convenience stores rose 71% in the 52 weeks ending May 10th but only 3.6% in the most recent 12 weeks. Although its difficult to get accurate sales figures due to the fragmentation of the vaporizer industry Wells Fargo also estimates that their sales are currently growing twice as fast as traditional e-cigarettes.

If this trend continues it may leave ‘Big Tobacco’ behind the curve. The anti-smoking kooks and regulation loving government functionaries should be able to lump vaporizers in with e-cigarettes since they obviously have no problem with ‘overreach’ of their authority but ‘Big Tobacco’ is in the process of making a big investment in e-cigarettes. Obviously they’ve got the resources to get into another segment of the ‘vaping’ business but they may eventually realize they’ve spent a lot of money on a product category that is ‘yesterday’s news’.

At the consumer level, there appears to be a greater satisfaction level with vaporizing with smokers suggesting that they’re less expensive and generally more enjoyable. Interestingly the FDA who recently got their panties in a wad over e-cigarettes has informally admitted that they don’t have a position on vaporizers and may not have oversight authority over them–yet.