As we look back on 2013, there is no denying that it was an explosive year for electronic cigarettes. Over the past twelve months, e-cigs have moved from obscurity to a common sight in public. It wasn’t that long ago that people would stop and stare if you used an e-cig in a restaurant or bar, but now it’s just the new normal in many places across the country. In fact, e-cigs have become some common that they have sparked international debate and legislators have wrestled with how to regulate vaping products. In 2014, the e-cig industry will continue to change and several experts have given their own public predictions for what will happen in the coming year. Here are some of the most important ecig projections we’ve seen to date.
Expect Huge Growth in Sales
Financial analysts all agree that electronic cigarette sales are going to explode in the next few years. Various analysts have offered predictions that e-cigs will account for 15-50 percent of tobacco shares within ten years. That means that the overall ecig market could be worth $110 to $360 billion by 2023. Investors are taking a big interest in the market after Citi Bank predicted sales to top $3 billion by 2015. Wells Fargo predicted $10 billion from the ecig industry by 2017. This explosive growth will eventually outshine tobacco sales. In fact, Bloomberg Industries projected that e-cigs will outsell tobacco cigarettes in the coming years.
Big Tobacco Will Embrace Vaping
When ecigs first began to gain some popularity, big tobacco didn’t seem too concerned. But with such huge growth, the giant tobacco firms couldn’t afford to ignore this new market. With tobacco profits on the decline, many companies have chosen to embrace vaping and create new products to appeal to e-cig fans. Lorillard was among the first to experiment in the market with an acquisition of Blu Ecigs that proved highly lucrative. Soon after that, British American Tobacco released Vype e-cigs while Reynolds tested the new Vuse E-Cigarette. In 2013, Altria tested the vaping waters with MarkTen E-Cigs in a small test market. So far, they have been very successful and this year will likely see a bigger market for their vaping gear. Most recently, Philip Morris announced an intention to develop a new e-cig in 2014.
Science Will Matter More Than Ever
Dr. JF Etter projected that 2014 would be the year when e-cig companies would embrace science like never before. With the FDA planning regulations, companies will have to adapt and use the best scientific practices if there is any hope for survival in the new market. Dr. Etter said that the public’s passion for vaping would ultimately be the deciding factor and he seemed hopeful that ecigs would survive even staunch regulations.. “Even if e-cigs are tightly regulated, it will be impossible to ban all unregulated products. The phenomenon is just too large, and you cannot stop a tsunami just by waving a piece of paper,” he said.
Fierce Competition Will Deliver Better Quality
Now that big tobacco is getting involved in the e-cigarette marketplace, China First Union predicted that buyers will place a new emphasis on quality. While past years have served as an introduction to e-cigarettes, the consumers of 2014 will expect quality products that are reliable. Small businesses might struggle to compete with big tobacco because it will boil down to available resources. Only the best will survive in the highly competitive market and quality will be the difference between ecig brands that last and those that shut down in 2014.
FDA Regulations Will Finally Begin
It seems like the world has waited for years to see how the FDA would handle e-cigarettes, but 2014 will most likely be the year when official regulation begins. One ecig blogger predicted that the FDA would implement new regulations, but most of the legislation would be up to individual cities or states. “The FDA will release something, though it seems like they might be leaning on states to do their dirty work with support form the CDC. I expect the American battle to be mostly a battle of attrition that happens at the state and city level. It will be a matter of endurance to see which side can keep fielding activists to attend meetings and lobby politicians,” he said.
What Do You Think Will Happen in 2014?
Do you agree with the expert predictions? Leave a comment and let us know what you are predicting for e-cigarettes in the coming year.