In the first quarter of 2009, global duty free and travel retail tobacco sales slumped by 19.3% compared with the same quarter in 2008 according to the TREND Tobacco Index which is based on actual audits of retail sales among a panel of locations worldwide.
"This is probably the worst quarter ever recorded for the tobacco business which has been battered in travel retail and elsewhere", says Yngve Bia, President Generation Research. "Sales were especially poor onboard airlines with a sales decline of 26.5%. Also airport sales were down steeply by 24.0%".
Sales in Asia Pacific and the Middle East held up relatively well in 1Q 2009 whilst significant drops were recorded in Europe (-21.2%) and the Americas
(-12.3%). In Europe it is especially intra-EU duty-paid sales that have suffered, down by 21.6% in Euros and equal to a drop of 31.5% in US dollars.
Amidst concerns of dramatically falling sales numbers, the tobacco industry is also faced with the challenging fact that many governments around the world - and particularly some in Asia - are considering supporting a ban on duty free cigarettes as part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Cigarette sales slumped 19.0%; Cigar sales plummeted 23.0%; and Cut Tobacco joined on the downside with a drop of 19.9% in sales. In the overall duty free and travel retail tobacco market some companies managed to improve their market shares including market leader Philip Morris stretching its lead from a 35.5% market share in 1Q 2008 to 35.6% in 1Q 2009. Among the Top 4 Companies, the biggest loser was BAT that saw its market share being reduced by 0.67% to 25.6%.
The global duty free and travel retail tobacco market is totally dominated by the Top 4 Companies Philip Morris International, BAT, JT International, and Imperial Tobacco that together represent 88.7% of global sales in value terms.
Additional cigarette brands that kept or improved their market shares in 1Q 2009 as compared to 1Q 2008 include market leader Marlboro as well as Rothmans, Winston, Lucky Strike, Davidoff, and Karelia. Important brands losing market share included B&H and Silk Cut.
Cigar sales tumbled 23.0% in 1Q 2009 vs 1Q 2008. Among the top brands market leader Davidoff saw its market share drop from 13.4% in 1Q 2008 to 12.6% in 1Q 2009. Additional major cigar brands with falling market share numbers included Cohiba, Romeo y Julieta, King Edward, and Hoyo. Cigar brands strengthening their importance and market share included Villiger, Danneman, and Partagas especially.
Meanwhile, sales of Cut Tobacco plunged 19.9% in 1Q 2009 versus 1Q 2008. Market leader Golden Virginia lost 1.8% points in market share ending 1Q 2009 with a share of 24.1% of the global Cut Tobacco market. Among the major brands also Port Royal, General, and Borkum Riff experienced declining market share numbers.
In roll-your-own tobacco, Drum showed progress in terms of gaining market share, whilst both van Nelle and Samson lost market share.