Monday, June 17, 2024

US Vape Stores: The Media Hurt the Vaping Industry More Than COVID-19


This year’s US Vape Store Survey from ECigIntelligence, a leading provider of global market and regulatory news, for the vape sector worldwide, has clearly indicated that the pandemic was not the main reason why the industry took a hit this year. Misleading media reporting, such as blaming vaping for the EVALI outbreak, was what in fact caused most of the damage.

The average store revenue dropped by 18% between 2019 and 2020, with approximately 80% of stores reporting a decline.

The average store revenue dropped by 18% between 2019 and 2020, with approximately 80% of stores reporting a decline. Interestingly, state and local bans on flavoured products are only believed to have contributed to about a 7% loss in sales.

“At a time when accuracy in reporting is under the national spotlight, this is a vivid illustration of the real damage that can be caused by irresponsible journalism,” said ECigIntelligence editorial director Barnaby Page. “The EVALI outbreak was shown to be caused by vaping of contaminated street cannabis products – nothing to do with the nicotine products that legitimate vape stores sell – but nevertheless these small businesses suffered heavily as a result of the linkage made in sensational reporting.”

The 2020 US Vape Store Survey

The 2020 US Vape Store Survey was carried out between August and early September, in collaboration with a number of vape industry associations and trade magazines, such as the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA) and the Vapor Technology Association (VTA).

The coronavirus pandemic has reportedly had an uneven impact on the US vaping sector, partly due to the diverse regulations imposed in different states and partly due to the varied ways in which different businesses have responded. In states where vape stores were deemed non-essential businesses, the vaping industry struggled.

How the US industry adapted

In other states, vape retailers managed to stay open by reclassifying themselves as convenience stores, which had been deemed essential. Moreover, some vape retailers and manufacturers started producing hand sanitiser and other sanitary-related products.

While some vape retailers adapted to conducting business online, half of the stores surveyed did not offer online sales, and there was no large increase in online sales reported by those who do.

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