You can hardly leave the house with seeing a Juul these days. It’s hard to believe the pocket-sized devices have only been around since June 2015.
The USB-like e-cigarette has absolutely dominated the US and as of August 2018 was sitting at a 72% market share and a net worth of more than $15bn. The high-nicotine pod system isn’t exactly the only pod kit of its kind available, especially in an ever-evolving world of e-cigarettes. So what sets it apart and how has it seen such exponential growth in a little over a year?
The meteoric rise to fame
While there’s been no shortage of contention over vaping in the headlines. “Juuling” became a thing amongst teenagers. Since then, the FDA has got involved and cracked down on advertising and even investigated Juul offices to obtain marketing plans. Despite all of this, it hasn’t stemmed the vaping giants growth.
Just a year ago, Juul had a 32% market share in the States. The same period this year, they’re sitting at 72%. Breaking the numbers down further, the total volume of products sold equates to more than an 800% increase.
2018 saw Juul hit British shores, opening a headquarters in London in July. There are a number of regulations in the UK which could have affected their growth. Up until recently it was illegal to advertise e-cigarettes in any capacity. European regulations from the Tobacco Products Directive also restrict the nicotine concentration to a maximum of 20mg. Despite all of this, the Juul is still flying off the shelves in British vape shops.
Made for smokers, by smokers
Aside from wanting to create a safer alternative to smoking, founders James Monsees and Adam Bowen were both smokers themselves and wanted to bring something totally unique to the market. Their main point of difference was the nicotine salt solution e-liquid in the pods.
By creating pods that delivered a significantly higher nicotine level with a much more rapid effect, they were onto something. Conventional nicotine (freebase nicotine) isn’t absorbed as quickly as nicotine salts. Nic salt liquids give a near instant hit, similar to that of a conventional cigarette. The concentration of nic salts also allows for a smoother hit without compromising on flavour.
A single Juul pod has the equivalent amount of nicotine as a 20 pack of “analog” cigarettes, making them ideal for heavy smokers. Where those with a heavier habit might have struggled to get satisfaction from vaping before, the Juul changed all that.
Part of the success of the Juul can certainly be attributed to its design. While there are plenty of vape mods with a lot of options to them, the beauty of the Juul lies in its simplicity. The pods just click into place. There are no buttons and users simply inhale to vape. When the pod runs out, you remove it, throw it away and put a new one in. They’ve kept their flavours simple and offer just one high-dose nicotine strength. Older e-cig designs like cigalikes you’d get at the gas station were often unsatisfying, unreliable and were expensive to keep using. The Juul was designed to negate all of those factors.
The Juul is small, discrete and emulates the feeling of smoking which makes it more accessible to transitioning smokers. Therein lies its success. No need for changing any parts like coils or refilling tanks. Just plug and play.
Where to from here?
With the e-cigarette market growing in line with Juul products, the projected growth in the next few years isn’t set to slow. With a projected global market value of $43 billion by 2023, that’s a huge 15% compound annual growth rate from the period starting 2017. Naturally, Juul will likely continue to be a significant part of this