The e-cigarette market in the Netherlands faces a serious challenge adapting to the requirements of the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), as small specialist retailers try to cope with advertising restrictions, e-liquid regulations and age verification.
A new report by ECigIntelligence reveals that while the Dutch market is stabilising after recent shrinkage, the distribution network is weak, the number of daily vapers has fallen, and poor products and promotions in convenience stores have damaged consumer confidence.
Most Dutch e-cig retailers operate online and a rise in shipping costs also affects their profitability. In fact, adapting to the TPD is tougher for online retailers than for bricks-and-mortar shops; age verification is significantly more difficult for online companies, and with limited ability to advertise in broadcast, print or online media, these firms must rely on search engines to attract new customers.
Some bricks-and-mortar retail channels may also be deterring consumers. Many Dutch newcomers to e-cigarettes buy them at convenience stores, where presentation is reported to be poor and the quality of products available may lead purchasers to abandon vaping.
Future market development will depend on growing the number of daily vapers. Recent trends suggest that while the number of occasional vapers in the Netherlands has risen, there has been a fall in those vaping daily, according to the ECigIntelligence report.
– Albert Guasch Rafael ECigIntelligence contributing writer