Tobacco & RRP Report
View from the brands: JTI
The Japan Tobacco International (JTI) portfolio includes a range of the world’s leading tobacco brands. Winston is the world’s number two international brand, while Mevius, previously called Mild Seven, is the leading cigarette brand in Japan and JT Group’s leading brand in Asia. Other prominent labels include Camel, LD, Benson & Hedges, Natural American Spirit, Sobranie, Glamour, and Silk Cut. The group is also experiencing growth with next-generation heated tobacco brand Ploom X.
Outlining the strategy for travel retail, JTI Corporate Affairs & Communications Director Global Travel Retail Antonio Vencesla says: “The pandemic has given us time to deeply reflect on consumer needs and to amend our strategy.
“The passenger mix at airports has changed, and longer idle times due to Covid-related delays are driving new trends and behaviours. The average traveller age has decreased, with a growing proportion of domestic and low-cost passengers seeking competitive prices.
“Consumers are hungry to travel and purchase again, with demand growing for ‘phygital’ experiences and sustainable products and actions.
“We want to surprise adult consumers by creating a ‘wow’ effect and making travel retail shopping a great experience. We are ready to test new activities to communicate and excite adult consumers in those countries where the business has recovered.”
Creating ‘phygital’ experiences (above and below) will help satisfy consumer demand for newness at airports, notes JTI
On how the company is responding to the needs of a new consumer with innovation and technology, he says: “Regarding the Reduced Risk Products category, we continue to listen to our consumers globally and have created a proposition in the heated tobacco category that is aligned with today's lifestyles and choices. Ploom X is available in Japan travel retail and will be rolled out to consumers in key international markets in due course.
“JTI renewed smoking lounges will [also] continue to be part of our proposal responding to the needs of those adult travellers and, overall, creating a better journey for all.”
Assessing the innovation agenda in more detail, Vencesla says: “We are a consumer-centric organisation. Our innovation agenda aims to respond to the increasingly demanding needs of adult consumers worldwide. And we are doing this by embedding digital and sustainability as enablers in our business propositions while building our presence in the fast-moving heated tobacco category.
“We continue exploring new digital opportunities to connect with our adult consumers through their journey, address our trade partners’ needs with sustainable business solutions, and adapt our merchandising approach at the point of sale.
“The new Ploom X device with its high-end aesthetic design, offers the style and modernity that adult consumers seek. Front panel colour options and mobile connectivity can be easily customised to personal preferences creating a truly unique user experience. Added convenience comes from a device that is easy to use and clean, with little mess and no smoke smell.”
Homing in on the travel retail opportunity, Vencesla says that industry partners can together do even more to engage the traveller before, during and after the journey.
“Trust is critical,” he says. “We need to work together with one clear focus on the consumer: excite them, surprise them and give them experiences they will not forget.
“Airports, airlines, retailers and brands need to continue leveraging collaboration and value sharing to adapt to the changes and enable growth in the future. Data sharing is critical to better understanding all traveller segments and enhancing the customer experience.”
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