The latest trends from The Vaper Expo UK

Published on: 3rd June 2019

DCA is supporting clients in developing Reduced Risk Products (RRPs) that present less risk of harm to smokers than continuing smoking. To help with this work we have, in recent years, attended Europe’s biggest and most recognised vaping event - The Vaper Expo UK. The following are four key highlights from May’s show that we felt were interesting to share.
1. The pods are taking over

Pod systems heavily dominated last year’s expo, which is not surprising as industry legislation guides manufacturers towards this format. This year, we saw the pod system category continuing to grow rapidly. Closed systems were limited to the big brands, while the remainder of the market has moved towards more open refillable systems, offering more flexibility and choice to consumers.


2. A focus on optimising technology

The vape market is notably crowded with devices and new products are released all the time.  This year there was a clear effort by manufacturers to promote the engineering effort and rigour that they have committed in developing their device portfolios and the performance benefits of the resulting devices. Vape devices are often riddled with frustrations from leaking, to dry hits and faulty coils. At the core, consumers need a reliable and well-engineered device or they will switch device or go back to smoking.


3. The rise of vape kits

From recent exhibitions, we have observed a trend towards portability. This exhibition showcased many more examples of this. Vape brands are beginning to think of the wider experience around vaping and what the consumer needs beyond a nicotine delivery system. The exhibition showcased products supplied with integrated charging and spare pod carry cases and bespoke interchangeable batteries which ensure the device will last all day. Pod systems that were getting smaller and more discreet, are now starting to get bigger, offering increased capacity, demonstrating that consumers value longer lasting devices.


4. Health identity for CBD

In the vape market and beyond, CBD (Cannabidiol) has had a bit of an identity crisis as brands figure out how best to market this product. At last year’s expo, there was a clear divide between brands portraying CBD as a health and wellness product, and those portraying CBD as a legal expression of recreational drug culture. This year there was a clear shift towards health and wellness. The CBD offerings were not limited to vape as we saw products in many other categories, including skincare products. As these categories emerge brands are exploring the most appropriate delivery method and distribution channels.



A final thought

It is an exciting time for product development within the vape market. It was evident that many of the products on display are starting to balance their technology-driven designs with explicit consideration of user needs and the wider vaping experience.

In a market as fast-paced and crowded as vaping, consumer-led evidence-based design, and a rigorous product development process, offer the opportunity to develop truly user-focused products that are clearly differentiated from competitors.  


Article written by Dr. Charlotte Pyatt-Downes, Design Researcher.