From disenchanted YouTube reviewers to concerned Reddit posts, there’s a lot of talk about the supposed downturn of the vape industry.
It’s about time we got a better understanding of what’s really going on: Change
The law of diminishing returns
I started in 2013 and ditched my smoking habit with an ego battery and ce4 clearomiser. Despite this being one of the best off-the-shelf products at the time, it certainly did not provide a pleasurable vaping experience.
Intermittent dry hits, flooding and a total lack of flavour drove thousands of people such as myself to forums in order to exchange tips and essentially hack our devices into providing a more satisfying vape.
This created a thriving community who wanted nothing more than to get a better vape and manufacturers quickly took note.
Between 2013-2015, we saw huge improvements in off-the-shelf products and suddenly vaping wasn’t just barely functional, it was pleasurable.
In the time since, we’ve seen devices become more advanced, reliable and affordable, after several years of products being released at breakneck speed.
Today, you can pick up a mainstream box mod and mesh tank kit, providing a plug-and-play vape experience that even the most advanced users could only dream of as recently as 2016.
Designers have all but mastered airflow, coil technology and advanced chipsets, so naturally the progress of high-performance vaping is now a slow but steady affair and that’s certainly not a bad thing for hobbyist consumers.
Pods are not the enemy
Some voices in the hobbyist community point to the current slew of pod system releases as a symptom of a “dying” industry. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Manufactures focus their efforts on what sells. The fact that pod systems are the current zeitgeist is proof that vaping has become a societal norm and is slowly being accepted as a legitimate alternative to smoking.
Many smokers want something discrete, convenient and satisfying. We need to remember that billowing clouds and fully-featured devices are a niche prospect.
Pods may not appeal to advanced users, but we have to accept that hobbyists are no longer the key demographic for manufacturers.
Designers are now tackling different problems. How do we make this simpler? How can we better emulate a cigarette? Now that the industry has a better understanding of the principles of vaping technology, these questions can be answered.
In the last year, I have converted more smokers in my life to vaping than in the previous five years combined. I attribute that solely to the accessibility and efficacy of pod systems.
Projections of growth
Discourse and conjecture are all well and good, but financial institutions are predicting dramatic growth for our industry in the coming years.
The UK market alone is forecast to reach $6.5B by 2024 according to P&S intelligence, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 19.6 percent during that period. The global market is set to reach $44.55B in the same time.
This is not the forecast of a dying industry, but one that is rapidly growing. Change should be expected and embraced along the way.
In summary, while manufacturers may not be releasing as many products with the hobbyist vaping community in mind, this does not mean our industry is dying, or even slowing down.
In fact, it shows that vaping is no longer just a subculture or an alternative side show. It’s a normal part of life and an accepted alternative to smoking that is here to stay.
Enthusiasts will always be catered to one way or another, now it’s time for us to let the industry focus on those who need it most: smokers.