Convenience and lower prices make the internet one of the most important distribution channels for e-cigarettes in the U.S., according to a new ECigIntelligence market report which estimates that the country has 180 vendors selling vaping products online.
Most traffic is concentrated among the top online vendors, although their web rankings declined during 2016.
Most of the leading websites receive more than half their visits from the U.S., although traffic from countries such as the UK, Canada and Turkey is increasing.
The leading source of visits is organic search, primarily from Google, followed by direct traffic – consumers who go directly to the vendor’s website. The impact of other channels such as email or social media is very low, according to ECigIntelligence data.
The study reveals that most of the leading online distributors in the U.S. have multi-brand websites, and the presence of corporate websites with single-brand is very low.
The report reveals a large variation in pricing between the leading websites. On the other hand, there is little average difference between prices among the top ten ranked online retailers and the next ten.
What This Means: Despite a downward trend in web ranking and visitor numbers for the leading online brands, the internet still provided one of the most important distribution channels for e-cig products in the U.S. in 2016, with about 15% of vapers regularly making their purchases online. The percentage is higher among hobbyists, of whom approximately 50% prefer to buy online.
The most popular vendors don’t necessarily have the cheapest products available – and though the leading websites’ statistics appears to have declined, they still account for the lion’s share of the traffic. There is no necessary correlation, however, between website visits or engagement and revenues.
– David Palacios ECigIntelligence staff