TOKYO (Reuters) – Philip Morris International Inc on Tuesday launched a cheaper version of its “heat it not burn” IQOS product in Japan in an attempt to revive sales and avoid competition from other traditional cigarette alternatives.
Since conventional e-cigarettes containing nicotine liquid are effectively banned in Japan, the country has become a major market for “non-burning heating” (HNB) products, which have less smoke and odor than traditional cigarettes.
Marlboro cigarette maker Philip Morris was the first to sell flame-retardant products in Japan in 2014, but after an initial surge in sales last year and competition from British American Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, its market share growth has stalled in recent quarters. . .
Philip Morris CEO Andrey Calanzopoulos told reporters on Tuesday that since the launch of IQOS in Japan, “It’s clear that IQOS sales have slowed down.”
But he said that if increased choice makes a product more popular with consumers, then increased competition in the long run is not necessarily a bad thing.
The new “HEETS” collection, priced at 470 yen ($4.18) per pack, will be available on Tuesday, he said. This is cheaper than the current Philip Morris HeatSticks, which are tobacco buns for IQOS devices, which cost 500 yen per pack.
“It’s obviously expensive for some people to spend an extra 30 yen a day, an extra 40 yen,” Calanzopoulos told Reuters in a separate interview.
In mid-November, the company will also release upgraded versions of its IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI devices. Existing versions will continue to be available at current prices.
Recently, IQOS posted weaker-than-expected growth after Philip Morris, the world’s largest listed tobacco company, became the world’s leader in non-burning heating.
Philip Morris said that IQOS holds 15.5% of Japan’s total tobacco market, including traditional cigarettes, but that market share has stabilized.
“I think a slowdown in any category is natural,” Calanzopoulos said. “We have earlier followers and more conservative people.”
Philip Morris has also filed a marketing application for IQOS with the FDA, allowing the company to market it in the name of risk reduction.
Philip Morris was spun off from Altria Group Inc. almost ten years ago and Altria will commercialize IQOS in the United States.
Calantzopoulos said the commercialization license is expected by the end of the year and Altria is “ready to launch”.
A December report by Reuters pointed to shortcomings in the training and experience of some of the principal investigators in the Philip Morris clinical trials submitted to the FDA.
Philip Morris gained attention Monday after running a four-page newspaper ad urging smokers to quit.
Post time: Nov-01-2022