While e-cigarettes started out as foul-tasting, chintzy devices sold at corner gas stations, they have certainly evolved. Now you can not only find the pen-like e-cigarette devices at multiple outlets across the world, but you can likewise shop for high-tech vaping devices, advanced mods, organic e-liquid, naturally extracted tobacco e-juice and any number of accessories within the exploding vaping industry.
Market Getting Hotter by the Minute
Worldwide retail sales of e-cigarettes and vapes hit $2.5 billion in 2013, according to Euromonitor, and the numbers are only expected to go up from there. Wells Fargo estimates sales will exceed $10 billion by 2017, with Bloomberg Industries forecasting e-cig and vaping sales will top traditional cigarette sales by the year 2047.
The younger generation is playing a huge role in the soaring popularity of vaping, Forbes reports, as is the steady legalization of marijuana across a greater number of states.
Marijuana Entering the Scene
As medial and recreational marijuana legalization continues to spread across the nation, the pot culture has added another revenue layer to the vaping industry. Yes, the industry is expanding to serve the marijuana crowd. Various vaping devices have been designed to work with dry herbs or concentrate to offer an alternative to smoking marijuana.
As more people turn to vaping, and more devices continue to hit the market, many in the industry are now embracing business models used by technology leaders to accelerate sales. This typically involves producing high-end, upscale products that launch regular upgrades. The rapid evolution of technology, along with strategic business initiatives, are working to ensure last year’s model is always topped by this year’s more advanced and alluring version.
Vaporizer manufacturer PAX Labs provides a prime case in point of ongoing innovation as well as sales. The company reports selling more than one million of its first three devices, which retail for up to $275 each. Vape company KandyPens saw a 350 percent increase in sales in 2016, bringing its total up to $6.5 million.
Just as consumers are turning to high-end vaping devices, they are also getting choosier when they buy e-liquid. Thousands of different flavors and hundreds of brands are on the market, although several e-liquid manufacturers are finding ways to stand out. Here the smaller companies can actually enjoy an edge over larger competitors, with the flexibility and creativity to produce exclusive products targeting niche markets.
Black Note is a case in point here, a tobacco e-juice company that manages to hit a revenue range of $1 to $5 million with a team of just 10 full-time employees. Black Note targets adult smokers only with its lineup of six high-end tobacco e-juice blends. Each blend contains real tobacco extract, undergoes and extensive, nine-step process, and can take up to two years to create.
FDA Looking for ‘Balance’
Strict Food and Drug Administration vaping regulations were scheduled to go into effect in August 2017 – but the FDA put the deadline on hold for at least another year. According to the FDA press release, this reprieve gives the agency time to strike “an appropriate balance between regulation and encouraging development of innovative tobacco products.”
This statement alone shows even the FDA may actual realize the value of vaping. And this is coming from an agency that was previously ready to enact regulations that could have killed off up to 99 percent of small vaping businesses in the U.S.
The value of vaping is already apparent to more than 9 million Americans who use e-cigarettes or vaping devices regularly. It’s also apparent to the vaporizer and e-juice manufacturers that continue to see profits grow. Vaping has already proved it’s much more than a passing trend – or a foul-tasting e-cigarette – and the industry is expected to continue its explosive growth for decades to come.