According to the new research, cigarette volumes in China declined in 2015 for the first time in over two decades. Driven by a wholesale excise rise, increased government control on production and greater health awareness in some regions, the cigarette market in China fell by 2.4 percent since 2014.
Head of Tobacco Research, Shane MacGuill, comments: “Like the ebbing of a fading tradition, 2015 cigarette volumes decline in China - the world’s largest and heretofore one of the last remaining growth markets - delivered the defining narrative of the year in global tobacco.” He continues: “We do not see 2015 as a one-off with the Chinese market projected to lose 5 percent of its volumes by 2020.”
Despite its shrinking size, the Chinese market accounted for 45 percent of global cigarette volumes in 2015. Given its size, the country’s negative performance exerted a huge impact on the world cigarettes market, which worsened by more than 2 percent since 2014 and 2015 - the biggest global year-on-year decline in over two decades.
MacGuill concluded: “2015 was largely a tale of regions switching established roles. Asia Pacific, dragged down by China, recorded a decline of 2.5 percent while Western Europe - for the first time in several years - saw positive volume growth as economies there recovered and outswitching to illicit, OTP and vapour products lessened.”
New Euromonitor research also shows that in 2015:
- 52.1 percent of the Chinese male population are smokers, but only 2.7 percent of the female population
- Cigarette volumes decline in the US slowed down at only 0.4 percent since 2014
- Greece is the country with the highest smoking percentage of adult population in the world, at 40.8 percent in 2015
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