History and Current Trends in the Electronic Cigarette Retail Marketplace in the United States: 2010-2016

Nicotine Tob Res. 2020 Apr 21;22(5):843-847. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nty214.


Introduction: The US market for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) has grown rapidly in the last decade. There is limited published evidence examining changes in the ENDS marketplace prior to the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) deeming rule in 2016. This study describes US ENDS retail market trends from 2010 to 2016.

Methods: National data were obtained from Nielsen retail scanners for five product types: (1) disposables, (2) rechargeables, (3) cartridge replacements, (4) e-liquid bottle refills, and (5) specialty vapor products. We examined dollar sales, volume, price, brand, and flavor.

Results: Adjusted national sales increased from $11.6 million in 2010 to $751.2 million in 2016. The annual rate of sales growth rapidly increased before slowing through 2015. The rate of growth spiked in 2016. Market share for menthol products and other assorted flavors increased from 20% in 2010 to 52.1% by 2016. NJOY's early market dominance shifted as tobacco industry brands entered the market and eventually captured 87.8% of share by 2016. Rechargeables and accompanying products comprised an increased proportion of total volume sold over time while disposable volume declined. Specialty vapor products appeared at retail in 2015.

Conclusions: Findings show strong early growth in the ENDS retail market followed by considerable slowing over time, despite a slight uptick in 2016. Trends reflect shifts to flavored products, newer generation "open-system" devices, lower prices, and tobacco industry brands. This study provides a baseline against which to compare the impact of FDA's 2016 deeming rule and future actions on the ENDS marketplace.

Implications: This study uses market scanner data from US retail outlets to describe trends in the ENDS retail market from 2010 to 2016, providing a baseline against which to compare the impact of FDA's 2016 deeming rule and future actions on the ENDS marketplace. Understanding historical market trends is valuable in assessing how future regulatory efforts and advances in ENDS technology may impact industry response and consumer uptake and use.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Commerce / trends*
  • Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems / statistics & numerical data*
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Marketing / history
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data
  • Marketing / trends*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / trends*
  • Tobacco Industry
  • Tobacco Products / history*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration