The global pandemic has changed the world after just 1 year, and vape businesses are not the exception. Despite alerts on health problems, the vape industry after COVID-19 remained the same at some points but still experienced several changes. Here are some of the highlights:
Vape still remains popular
Before COVID-19, the tobacco epidemic, which people often refer to as the largest public health crisis, has already paved the way for e-cigarettes to boom. This is because many people were finding less toxic alternatives for traditional tobacco. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, e-cigarettes became even more popular.
During the first year of the pandemic, vape sales in four big US markets remained fairly stable, at a slightly lower level after the 2019 peak. Although COVID-19 has put forward many problems in the respiratory system, an increased amount of free time at home has led consumers to save more time and money, thus increasing the demand to smoke. The combination of Coronavirus and the tobacco epidemic has made the vape industry maintain its popularity, even after many health issues caused by COVID-19.
Supply chain has been disrupted
Materials (devices, coils, pods) made for vapes are often not made domestically, which requires supply chain activities to constantly work. During the past year, the delivery of these materials have been influenced by stricter border controls, especially most of them are from China, one of the ‘hot spots’ for COVID-19.
Another notable change is the occurrence of online vape shops as a result of COVID-19, which were at some points become overloaded with orders. This puts more pressure on the manufacturers. However, the more we step into the pandemic, the more lessons vape businesses and manufacturers have learned.
Businesses start to produce their own coils to reduce pressure on the supply chain. Management of stocks, ordering, and deliveries are now becoming less overwhelming, thanks to better adaptation to the ‘new normal’.
New buying behaviors have emerged
The vape industry after COVID-19 also experienced some positive changes. People now find new ways of shopping, such as online ordering, home delivery, drive-thru and curbside pickup. As a response to this trend, vape retailers are shifting towards e-commerce channels to better approach their customers.
Vape retailers also reported that people shop less often, but actually buy more each time they come to the (online) store. They no longer show up as often as in the pre-pandemic period for the fear of contagiousness. Businesses are then finding ways to accommodate these new shopping patterns to adjust their supply chain and use automation to maintain consistent management.
Where is the future for the vape industry?
The global e-cigarette is expected to increase at a CAGR of more than 8% from 2020 to 2025, which online shops are proven to be one of the key factors that lead to such growth. While the pandemic has led to a decrease in in-store sales, e-commerce is a potential tool to save businesses. There is no doubt that the vape industry after COVID-19 needs to balance between online and in-store operations, as well as closely follow possible changes in consumer behaviors.
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