Leading UK retailers and vape manufacturers are responding to the growing vape opportunity by relocating devices onto the shop floor, in a bid to make the £1bn market more accessible to new and existing vapers.

Last month Sainsbury’s became the first supermarket to move vaping devices from out behind the counter and onto the shop floor.

More than 280 Sainsbury’s supermarkets now feature shop-floor vaping displays, enabling existing vapers and smokers looking to switch, greater freedom to browse the range, a spokeswoman told Convenience Store.

The year ahead would also see Sainsbury’s expand its vaping range to ensure that it was “offering customers choice and value,” she added.

The news comes as new figures reveal that vaping sales grew by 19% year on year in first two weeks of 2019, according to BAT.

BAT, whose Vype products are included in the new Sainsbury’s shop-floor displays, said it was “impressed” by Sainsbury’s approach.

The manufacturer has previously warned retailers that they needed to “make more of the category in terms of display” so as not to “miss out” on lucrative sales.

BAT head of next generation products, Nigel Hardy, said: “We have been impressed with the approach taken by some of the more progressive retailers, such as Sainsburys, who are, moving vaping products closer to the consumer, taking them from the gantry into the aisle.

“Here consumers can interact with the product, read the packaging and therefore make choices that suit their needs,” he added.

And Sainsbury’s is not alone in its mission to make vape displays more accessible to existing vapers and smokers looking to switch.

Earlier this week, the Vapouriz Group, which operates the Vapestore division, unveiled its first “shop within a shop” format.

The 300 sq ft store at Waterlooville BP Service Station, Hants, is the first of six ventures, that sees Vapouriz join forces with the Rusdene Group, to bring Vapestores to petrol forecourts across the Solent.

Vapouriz Group CEO, Brett Horth, said: “This shop within a shop format, a first for the vaping industry, is a logical extension of the current retail offer. We are looking forward to further developing our retail solutions arm across the country.”