Traditional tobacco flavors appeal most to European and North American smokers, while in other regions consumers demonstrate a stronger preference for fruity and minty/floral tobacco flavors. 52% of smokers prioritize flavor when shopping for cigarettes. That 61% of smokers enjoy the taste and smell of tobacco-flavored cigarettes is evidence that the traditional smoker still forms a key target for cigarette manufacturers.

It has identified five key smoker groups impacting innovation in tobacco -

  • Traditional: Driven by a concern for authentic, high-quality tobacco products with a long heritage and traditional flavour. The use of organic materials appeals to traditional smokers who seek simplicity and tradition above all else. Smokers in this group demonstrate brand loyalty and a desire for the familiar.
  • Occasional/Social: Occasional smokers enjoy indulgent tobacco products, while social smokers smoke when socializing with friends, preferring ’experiences’ to ’things’. Targeting occasions should unlock growth in this group of mostly millennial consumers; a group characterized by shifting consumption priorities.
  • Novelty: Novelty smokers experiment with unique flavors and ingredients, and seek products which offer exciting tobacco consumption moments. Vaping and e-cigarettes offer the most direct access to this group, and are increasing their appeal among various consumer groups, young and old.
  • Premium: Premium smokers seek to distinguish themselves through the purchases they make, with a focus on quality ingredients, exclusivity and heritage brands. They are found increasingly in emerging markets, where incomes are rising following strong economic performance in recent years.
  • Female: Female smokers are concerned about the aesthetic impact of smoking, and seek gender-specific products with discrete odors and a ’clean’ image. Non-combustible devices offer a way forward here.

Key Implication

  • The Traditional Smoker: Retain focus on standard tobacco flavours and high-quality ingredients.
  • The Occasional/Social Smoker: Legislation permitting, use flavours associated with indulgence and social occasions to target this group. Alcoholic cocktail flavours work well.
  • The Novelty Smoker: Use novel ingredients and innovations in packaging to appeal to this group.
  • The Premium Smoker: High-quality, premium ingredients carry appeal for this group. Customizable vaping hardware allows smokers to distinguish themselves.
  • The Female Smoker: Concerned about the aesthetic impact of tobacco consumption, target this group with minty/floral flavors and discrete odors.

The report "Top Trends in Tobacco and Anti-Smoking Aids 2017" outlines the key consumer and innovation trends currently impacting the core categories in tobacco. These include NPD that aligns with consumer demand for customization or appeals to the experimental consumer. Additionally, this report helps to identify the top trends driving the tobacco sector and gains insight and inspiration for innovation.

Companies mentioned in this report: Natural American Spirit, Marlboro, Meridiano, Lucky Strike, Baisha, Liquid Designer Shake & Vape, Vype Pebble, Swisher Sweets, Vasco Da Gama, UltraBio, Avatar FX, Mademoiselle, Benson & Hedges, Gizeh.


  • There are five core smoking groups: traditional, occasional/social, novelty, premium, female.
  • Tobacco flavor types are the most popular, appealing most to European and North American smokers, while in other regions consumers demonstrate a stronger preference for fruity and minty/floral tobacco flavors.
  • Occasional/social smoking is more pronounced in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups, while regular smoking increases with age.
  • The nature of experience is changing. Encouraging smokers to share their experiences with others is vital to achieving steady sales growth.
  • Consumers in the Asia-Pacific region are more than twice as likely as those in Latin America to view smoking as helping them to socialize with others.

Reasons To Buy

  • Identify the top trends driving the tobacco sector.
  • Gain insight into the key consumer segments that are most likely to be a key focus for innovation.
  • Put innovative products into context by connecting them to specific consumer trends and needs.
  • Gain insight and inspiration for innovation.