More than half of retailers (59%) have reported that more customers are looking for smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes, a study has revealed.

Conducted by KAM Media on behalf of Philip Morris Limited (PML), the survey found that e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products have seen an increase in demand in recent years.

It also reported that a third (38%) of the retailers expected a further increase in their customers seeking better alternatives to cigarettes in 2021, versus half that number (18%) who were expecting those numbers to fall.

With New Year’s traditionally being the time for people to stop smoking, seven out of 10 retailers felt that their store was ‘very prepared’ for a New Year spike in demand for alternatives, while 60% felt staff knowledge or training on the smoke-free alternatives available was very important.

Other findings from the report included that 45% of retailers believe they play a role in helping customers move away from cigarettes as part of any New Year’s resolution; over half (52%) of all retailers now stock heated tobacco products and that retailers rank ease of purchase, high nicotine strength and a cigarette-like experience as important to customers looking to switch to a smoke-free alternative.

Head of commercial planning UK & Ireland at PML Kate O’Dowd, said: “Without question quitting tobacco and nicotine usage completely is the best option any smoker can make. Of those that cannot or will not quit, the New Year offers adult smokers an opportunity to make a better choice. With over a third of retailers expecting demand for smoke-free products to increase in 2021, stocking a range of alternatives, like IQOS – the UK’s number one smoke-free product – will be key in helping adult smokers move away from cigarettes for good.”

Want to know more about the tobacco category? Check out our latest products in depth report.