vaping ecigarette refill

Seven out of the top 10 vaping brands are in value growth in grocery

There’s a school of thought that believes the pandemic has proved a catalyst for persuading smokers to quit. This year’s sales figures for vape products and nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) suggest there’s more than a nugget of truth to that belief.

Seven out of the top 10 vaping brands are in value growth in grocery, bolstering the category by £68.3m. Volumes are up 20.2%, equating to an extra 20.7 million packs sold in the supermarkets.

The abstinence theory is further supported by the Office for National Statistics, which this month revealed 6.7% of UK adults used a vape product in 2020. That’s a serious increase on the 3.7% reported when the ONS started collecting such information in 2014.

“Everyone on the side of harm reduction knows that vaping is far less harmful than smoking. So, more people vaping and less smoking can only be cause for celebration,” says UK Vaping Industry Association director general John Dunne.

The bestselling devices continue to be closed systems, which has benefited leading names Juul, Vype, Blu and Logic. They’ve added a combined £5.7m in grocery, buoyed by vape stores – whose more specialist lines usually account for the lion’s share of vaping sales – being closed for part of the year. 


Juul, which launched its Juul2 device in September (see Top Launch, below), enjoyed the biggest growth of 56.8%, knocking Blu off the top spot.

However, there could soon be another market leader. In April, BAT rebranded its Vype brand as Vuse – the name more widely used internationally. Combining this year’s sales, Vype and Vuse would have created a brand worth £62.5m, giving it a lead of £13.7m.

The only two declining brands in the top 10 are  Cirro and 10 Motives – reflecting the waning popularity of ‘cigalike’ formats.

But disposable cigalikes can’t be written off just yet: several brands just outside the top 10 have enjoyed phenomenal growth.

Take newcomer Geek Bar, which is worth £6.2m from a standing start, and Elf Bar, which has added £3.4m after posting on social media about retailers struggling to keep up with demand.

Of course, vaping isn’t the only option for smokers trying to kick the habit. The NRT  category is also in solid value growth, up 4.2%.

Interestingly, however, sales fell for the three main brands: Nicorette, Nicotinell and Niquitin, all of which offer gum and patches.

Market growth was instead driven by relative newcomers Nordic Spirit and Velo, both of which are tobacco-free nicotine pouch brands. They have racked up an extra £11.8m between them.

Top Launch 2021

Juul2 | Juul Labs

Juul 2

Source: Juul Labs

The September launch of Juul2 could come to be seen as the moment vaping grew up. Rather than its style or flavour options,  the device’s key selling point is deterring underage users. Its tech means it won’t work with counterfeit flavour pods – which are often sold without proper age verification standards. Plus, UK shoppers using Juul’s site are required to go through a rigorous age-verification process. A starter kit comprising a Bluetooth-enabled device, charging dock and two pods is priced at £9.99.

The Grocer’s Top Products Survey 2021: who’s up, who’s down – and our overview of the key trends