Japan HNB market slowing, price cuts fuel competition

Japan Tobacco Inc is cutting the prices of its heated tobacco products after a similar move by Philip Morris International, signaling increased competition on Japan’s nascent market for alternative cigarettes, according to a story by Taiga Uranaka and Ritsuko Shimizu for japantoday.com.

Japan, where electronic cigarettes delivering nicotine are effectively banned, has become the main market for heat not burn (HNB) products. The country accounts for more than 90 percent of the $5 billion HNB market, according to Euromonitor.pmi-iqos

Tobacco makers initially struggled to keep up with demand as they began limited introductions of HNB products in Japan a few years ago. They have since ramped up production, but investors are now worried about slowing growth in the sector.

JT said was cutting the price of its Ploom TECH device to 3,000 yen from 4,000 yen.

“We are finally prepared and confident that we can reverse our position and go on the offensive,” Chito Sasaki, president of the company’s domestic tobacco business, reportedly told Reuters.

The company, with a 60 percent share of the traditional cigarette market, has been lagging rivals in the HNB category.