Emerging Trends On The UK High-Street: Vape Shops

19 April 2017
4 minute read

Emma Doyle

The phenomenal success of online retailers and the customer experience they offer, has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the UK high street. It’s become common to see shops and outlets come and go, and high streets are now an ever-changing landscape, instead of the stable long term family run businesses of the past.

This means that many businesses are having to adapt and diversify in order to stay relevant - but are they doing enough? Soaring rents and customers finding better deals online are just some of the challenges that shop owners are facing today.

Hitting The High-Street

While the future is looking uncertain for some business owners, others have seen growth over the past 12 months. in the first six months of 2016, 2,656 shops closed on the UK’s high streets, a rate of 15 stores a day according to PwC research. With fashion and mobile phone shops along with high street banks taking the hardest hit, potentially due to the products and services being widely available online. Some of the fastest risers last year included tobacconists, health clubs and jewellers all of which rely on physical presence in their sales process.

The Rise of the Vape Shop

One of the biggest success stories of the last few years has been the rise of the vape shops; which have increased rapidly in number, with 800 new stores opening in 2016 alone. Marketed as a healthier alternative to smoking and offering a wide range of flavours that users can enjoy, it seems that both ex-smokers and non-smokers have jumped on to the emerging trend.

Driven by their ever increasing popularity, vape shops have also begun to sell their products alongside other goods to meet retain customer loyalty and improve in-store experience. This has brought about a wave of novelty vape cafes, such as Shake 'n' Vape in Warrington which allows vapers to combine smoking e-cigarettes with drinking milkshakes in an American diner setting.

There are now more than 3 million vapers in the UK, and with vape shops filling out empty outlets on a weekly basis, this is one high street trend that could be set to stay for years to come.

Changes in Legislation

Looking ahead, it is likely that the upcoming new smoking legislation will also contribute to the growth of vaping. These changes will include the discontinuing 10 packs of cigarettes, phasing out of menthol cigarettes and repackaging of all cigarette boxes to look the same. Prices will be seen to rise too as, from the 21st May, the cheapest pack of cigarettes will set consumers back £8.82.

As well as pushing many smokers towards the vape trend, stock registration will change for vape stores too. For instance, registering all e-cigarettes and e-liquids with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency before they can be sold, and limiting e-liquids to 10ml.

If you own a vape shop and would like to find out more about how the changes in legislation might affect you, you can visit the guidance page here.

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