With prices at nearly £5 a pack, it’s not surprising that some smokers have felt the need to abandon their usual brands in favour of something a little kinder to the pocket.
In an effort to win back those tempted away from Benson & Hedges, Gallaher has launched its latest innovation, Benson & Hedges 14s available from September 1.
Gallaher trade communications manager Jeremy Blackburn says the new size will provide a pro rata price point for a premium product that will appeal to smokers tempted into other value for money and cheaper brands - rrp for Gold will be £3.49, and Silver, which will be price marked on pack, is £3.10.
Says Blackburn: “People have traded out of Bensons & Hedges because of the price; this gives the consumers the opportunity to trade back into the premium brand by allowing them to buy cigarettes and say a newspaper and a chocolate bar for £5, which buying 20s doesn’t.”
The idea for the launch, according to Gallaher, came from research pointing to the fact that the average person smokes around 14 cigarettes per day. Blackburn says that alongside this is the fact that the market is changing to focus on consumer demand, which gave the company the idea that there was no reason why consumers couldn’t be given a range of pack sizes to choose from in the same way as purchasers of other products.
“Think of, say, Stella - you get cans, bottles, packs etc. The smoker chooses the brand out of choice but sometimes has to choose the pack size out of necessity” he says.
Blackburn says he hopes the new packs cause customers to do a double-take but assures retailers they will not provide problems with merchandising the gantry.
The retailer will also benefit from increased footfall, increasing the likelihood of a daily purchase. Margins on Gold, he says, are equivalent to value for money brands and on Silver are better than cheaper brands.
According to Blackburn the company has, at present, no plans to roll out the size to other brands but Gallaher will be keeping a close eye on sales before making a decision: “We will be doing a lot of research around the products’ rate of sale and where the sales are coming from. We will hopefully be sharing this research at Christmas.”
He says the new launch will garner interest from customers intrigued by the new size.
“It’s about selling the Benson & Hedges name and keeping a high profile,” says Blackburn.