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Trend spotting

March 24, 2016

What’s next for vapor

By Dmitry Churakov

A significant part of my time goes into attending trade shows all over the world, and each one has something unique to contribute. I view the Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE), which took place Mach 16-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, as a small microcosm of what’s in store for the industry, as it steadily evolves along with it, and is always one of the first to point to emerging trends. The shift to electronic devices has been steady, as the morphing of products themselves.

Three years ago the show was dominated by cigalikes, open systems such as eGo, and basic liquids. The following year cigalikes where replaced by an avalanche of mods, and premium liquids began to appear. This year was all about premium liquids, which in of itself begs the question—what is a premium liquid these days? When everyone is pandering luxury experience, what makes a brand truly unique?

A major part boils down to branding. The companies are going all out in development of sophisticated packaging and unique brand identification that aims to appeal to various market segments. MYLK is one great example of just that. With its milkshake flavors and clever positioning, Brewell has hit a great niche. The product is all of the latest rave in China even though the Chinese are not major milk consumers nor milkshake aficionados. Cosmic Fog is steadily paving the way with its clear and consistent brand story, and is a great case study of a vape shop-focused company that now made it into a tobacco-centric distribution arena of TPE.

Another important development in the race for a slice of the premium sector is adaptation to simple and crisp flavors. As opposed to offering a 35 options with stereo effects in each liquid, the brands are opting for a flavor lineup that clearly defines their identity, providing a powerful differentiator. From what I see, this is one of the baldest steps towards true premium status, more in line with the accepted lineups of classic high end scotch.

A special mention should go out to SQN, which showcased NKTR—a new line of e-juice based on Tobacco-Free Nicotine developed in partnership with the Next Generation Labs. To me it truly set the tone for the next step in luxury liquids in terms of packaging, flavors, and most importantly the science behind the e-juice. This was definitely the product that exceeded expectations on all parameters and should lead the next wave of innovation.

Dmitry Churakov is CEO of Wingle Group, a China-based research and development consulting service geared toward the e-cigarette and adjacent technologies and manufacturing processes. He is also a co-founder of Calumet Advisors, an international strategic consulting company dedicated to the e-cigarette segment.

Category: Breaking News

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