KT&G sold more than 200,000 of its lil Hybrid devices within 80 days of their launch in South Korea, according to a story by Baek Byung-yeul for The Korea Times.
The new device is a hybrid in that it uses both electronic-cigarette and heat-not-burn (HNB) technologies, which means that the consumer uses both e-liquid cartridges and tobacco sticks at the same time.
The company’s lil Hybrid device, its MIIX tobacco sticks and e-liquid cartridges were launched in December.
KT&G said yesterday that sales of the hybrid device were growing faster than those of the original lil HNB device, which took about 100 days to pass the 200,000 mark.
Sales of its lil HNB device hit one million in October 2018 and 1.5 million this month.
South Korea’s e-cigarette market has seen growing competition in recent years and industry insiders believe the race to take the lead will peak this year because JUUL Labs is expected to roll out its e-cigarette.
Lim Wang-seop, the chief of KT&G’s innovative product department, was quoted as saying that his company had been developing new products that could compete with Juul.
The e-cigarette market accounted for only 3.13 percent of the entire tobacco market in South Korea, he said, but KT&G expected this share to grow to about 14 percent to 15 percent after the introduction of Juul.
Nevertheless, Cho Sang-hoon, an analyst at Samsung Securities, was quoted as saying that KT&G wouldn’t be negatively affected by the market changes.
KT&G’s share in the regular cigarette market would grow by about one percent to 62.9 percent this year, while its share in the e-cigarette market would increase to about 30 percent this year, from about 17 percent in 2018.