South Korea’s tobacco monopoly KT&G has further cemented dominance in the domestic e-cigarette market by raising the share to fresh record of 40.7 percent by the end of September, giving it confidence to expand global outreach.
The company’s steady rise is being driven by continuous success of new tobacco sticks such as `Fiit` and `MIIX` compatible with its heat-not-burn cigarette brand lil, according to the company on Wednesday.
Cumulative sales of lil devices surpassed 4 million units this year. Compared with humble start at 79,000 in the first year of launch, sales surged to 1,565,000 in 2018, 2,616,000 in 2019, 3,222,000 in 2020. Market share further gained to 40.7 percent by September from 39 percent three months prior.
The company’s key growth driver has been lil HYBRID 2.0 with a competitive advantage based on an independent platform. The device combines KT&G`s proprietary technology that uses cartridge and stick at the same time has been well received by consumers thanks to abundant vapor production and easy maintenance.
KT&G is also focusing on strengthening the lineup of dedicated sticks for its e-cig devices. The lineup of Fiit and MIIX sticks almost doubled from 11 types in 2019 to 20 now, successfully meeting the increasingly diverse needs of consumers.
The lil brand is also drawing attention from overseas markets. In a global partnership with Philip Morris International (PMI), KT&G products are now being sold across 10 countries. The achievement was made just one year after its first overseas shipment to Russia in August last year.
KT&G and PMI signed a marketing contract for the lil brand last year, launching ‘lil SOLID 1.0’ in Russia and Ukraine. In Japan, `lil HYBRID 2.0` was released.