China Cigarettes Market Declines for the First Time in Over Two Decades

Research Company
Euromonitor International announces today the
release of new tobacco industry data.

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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Euromonitor International
Violetta Scola, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7251 8024
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Global Media Relations Specialist