By Norm Bour
Comparing the event scene in the United States with those overseas is a crap shoot. Some international promoters have it down, but others are still learning. Warsaw, the most recent host city for Vapexpo, put on a recent event but timing is everything and in this case, timing worked against the promoters, Smile Expo.
The European Crisis
Crisis may be an exaggeration, but many countries have implemented severe restrictions on vape in many forms. The list of countries that have outlawed online sales number over a dozen.
In August, 2016, the President of Poland signed a decree that effectively restricted the use and advertising of vaping products. All vaping events specifically had to exclude members of the public and outlawed public vaping.
That law went into effect in September 8, 2016; the Vapexpo in Warsaw took place just two days later.
Even so, they were able to bring together some wonder- ful speakers and presenters, including Olena Teodorovych-Rogulis, a research analyst with Euromonitor International, a worldwide consortium with multiple world offices.
Teodorovych-Rogulis shared the statistics of market penetration (see chart) which showed that the United Kingdom was secondary to the US in vaping consumption, with Poland as #9. Even so, the cigar market in the rest of the world is twice as large as the vape world, excluding the US.
There is lots of upside. As big as the worldwide market has grown, vaping has only captured 7 percent of the smoking market worldwide.
Online sales restrictions
Based on the report by Euromonitor International, online sales represent about one-third of all vaping sales. In the US it may be higher since we have such an open market with many price shoppers willing to buy from online vendors.
As of this writing, online sales are banned in the following countries: Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
One of the barriers of vaping versus analog cigarettes in Eu- rope, Asia and the Baltic countries is the price differential.
Cigarettes tend to be comparatively cheap in Europe while vaping products are about 10 percent of that price. The mon- ey savings in the United States is quite a bit higher.
Looking at the map below it’s easy to see why the vaping industry will not go away. The majority of the world has no vaping presence at all and no restrictions.
International vaping events will continue worldwide as they will in the US.
Regardless of what happens in the United States with regulations, the entire world is a potential convertee.
Overseas regulations will probably never be as onerous or restrictive as the new deeming regulations.
If you are in the vape space and are looking to expand you should do your research on the overseas market. Keep your eyes out for events and event promotors that offer education and not just a sales floor.
Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors and creator of the VAPE U online programs. They offer services & resources for anyone in the vape space, including vape shops, online stores and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vaping radio show in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads. Norm interviews the masters of vape and thought leaders in the vape space. Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.