Imperial Brands is switching sales and marketing philosophies, focusing on vaping with hopes of expanding it into a main revenue stream.
A United Kingdom-based tobacco industry giant, Imperial Brands envisions vaping developing into a $2 billion line of business by 2020, beginning with the launch of NIXX, a tobacco-infused e-cigarette, and Pulze, a heat-not-burn (HNB) device.
To help deflect the sagging sales of traditional cigarettes the past two years, Imperial Brands released Pulze in Japan in September and is slated to put NIXX on the market in early 2019.
Over the next 2-3 years, the company intends to broaden its vaping investment over the short term, according to Bloomberg.
Speaking recently in London, Imperial Brands CEO Alison Cooper announced plans for the company’s “next-generation products” of alternative smokeless products.
Cooper was called upon to speak to help soothe investors concerned with the company’s new direction, fearing vaping may not be as profitable as traditional cigarettes. To gain a foothold in the new space last year, Imperial Brands acquired Nerudia, a U.K.-based e-liquids producer.
Cooper said Japan was selected as the first market for Pulze, Imperial Brands’ initial heated-tobacco offering, because of the mature vaping culture in the country. Sales of the product should commence in the first quarter of 2019, Bloomberg reported.
Imperial Brands seeks to take a bite into the market rival tobacco producer Philip Morris International has established in Japan. Philip Morris’ IQOS HNB device has more than 5 million consumers.
Cooper said NIXX will spearhead the company’s e-cigarette dive into the new space, adding electronic cigarettes has more long-term potential than HNB products.
“We’re going to be driving the vapor opportunity,” Cooper said.
Imperial Brands also intends to create another revenue stream in the cannabis industry, Cooper told Bloomberg Television, adding it invested in Oxford Cannabinoid Technologies last June.
“It’s an interesting space to explore,” Cooper said.