The tobacco industry is facing many headwinds. The industry is still dominated by tobacco giants such as Philip Morris International but companies are being forced to diversify their investments in order to remain relevant in the future.

Cigarette sales have been on the decline for years. Younger consumers are more aware of the dangers of cigarettes and are increasingly either switching to electronic cigarettes or not smoking at all. Coupled with the increasing number of populations with access to legal cannabis, tobacco manufacturers are focusing more on marketing their own e-cigarettes, and investing in other e-cigarette and cannabis companies in order to mitigate the loss of revenue from declining cigarette consumption.

Biggest tobacco company
British American Tobacco
Most valuable tobacco brand
Leading cigarette importing country

Market size

Still growing despite cigarette decline
Value of the tobacco market worldwide from 2017 to 2026 (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Despite declining cigarette sales, the value of the global tobacco market is set to continue growing. The compound annual growth rate of the industry is expected to be maintained at nearly five percent through 2026, representing a nearly doubling of value from 2017.

The majority of the industry's cigarette sales are derived from Asia and e-cigarettes represent a small, but growing revenue stream.

U.S. tobacco industry

Market segments

E-cigarettes gaining steam
Tobacco product sales in U.S. convenience stores (C-stores) in 2019, by sub-category (in million U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

Cigarettes made up the vast majority of tobacco product sales in convenience stores in the United States at 55.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. The least purchased tobacco product was roll-your-own tobacco with sales of just 42 million dollars in that year.

While still the most common means of nicotine ingestion, cigarette use is declining year over year while non-combustible methods such as vaping are growing at a continuous rate.

Smokeless tobacco

Industry trends

E-cigarettes gaining steam
Electronic cigarettes dollar sales worldwide from 2017 to 2025 (in million U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

E-cigarettes still represent a comparatively small share of the overall tobacco industry, but the segment is growing rapidly. Sales are set to double their 13.6 billion U.S. dollar value from 2017 to 27 billion dollars by 2025.

While cigarette consumption has been declining for years, e-cigarette use has seen a swell of support, particularly among younger consumers.

Smoking habits in Europe

Industry leaders

Giants still exist
Leading tobacco companies worldwide in 2019, based on net sales (in billion U.S. dollars)
Further details: Visit original statistic

The tobacco industry is still lead by power houses like British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International, makers of such well known cigarette brands like Camel and Marlboro.

In 2019, British American Tobacco was the largest tobacco company on Earth, with net sales totaling 33 billion U.S. dollars. Philip Morris international was a close second and Imperial Brands trailed in third.

Philip Morris
Imperial Brands

Regional overview

Looking East
Cigarette sales share worldwide in 2018, by region
Further details: Visit original statistic

The vast majority of the tobacco industry's cigarette sales come from Asia today. Sixty-four percent of all sales are derived from the region. This should come as no surprise, primarily because the region is home to nearly the same share of the world population. Eastern Europe came in a distant second, at 10 percent of sales and Latin America accounted for only three percent of sales. China is the single biggest country consumer of cigarettes in the world, by far.

Smoking worldwide
Tobacco industry
Smoking in the UK

Industry definition

The tobacco industry encompasses the manufacturing and selling of all products derived from tobacco, smokable and non-smokable. The segments within these categories can be further subdivided into the smokable products of cigarettes, cigars, and loose tobacco for rolled cigarettes, pipes, and waterpipes. Smokeless products include those such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus. The newest tobacco innovation is vaping or e-cigarettes which heats a liquid to a temperature below combustion and turns the liquid into a gas which can be inhaled.

The biggest players in the tobacco industry are companies such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International which produce many of the world's most recognized brands of cigarettes. As cigarette consumption rates continue to fall, manufacturers have begun to embrace e-cigarettes as a means to maintain revenue while touting their harm-reduction benefits when compared with traditional tobacco smoking.


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