Look to further increase of the e-cig industry in 20 years

According to the view of the former founder of Qihu 360 Investment Department, since 2002, he has interviewed 30,000 entrepreneurs. The purpose of his writing entrepreneurship diaries is to share the rules and experiences summarized from a large number of cases over the past ten years to more entrepreneurs and investors.

wang yi
Wang Yi

This is not the first time he has written so optimistic about electronic cigarettes. As early as a year ago, some predictions of electronic cigarettes were mentioned in the paper. The Title is: Underestimated e-cigarettes, another trillion level opportunities?  Look at the headline and you’ll see how promising the future of electronic cigarettes is.

Underestimated e-cigarettes, another trillion level opportunities? The title of this article, though in the form of question, but contains self-question and self-answers, and it give reasons why we think we can achieve trillion-level opportunities in the article.

The original text is like this, “How big is the market of electronic cigarettes?” I guess most people don’t have any idea, because it’s still a completely untapped market, and as far as I know, almost all the previous estimates in the industry were wrong! For example, I asked a tobacco industry person who thought that the data model was as follows: China’s smoking population was about 30%, and according to the development of electronic cigarette industry in developed countries, the penetration rate of e-cig users in the smoking population was 20%. Then, 6% of the target population would be electronic cigarette smokers. In China, it is almost 100 million users. Is 100 million users enough? The market is not small. It’s also a billion-dollar market. But I think this is a serious underestimate of the market! E-cigarettes should be a trillion-scale opportunity!”

About the future development prospects of electronic cigarettes, we usually use smokers to compare and analyze, but Wang Yi said, “It is wrong to use smokers to compare and analyze. Although electronic cigarettes have a cigarette character in their name, I don’t think they are cigarettes at all. I think they are actually toys for adults. Toys! Jumping out of the tobacco market, if electronic cigarettes were used as a catalyst and extended to more abundant scenarios, we might find a lot of new ways to play, “and then he explained the three ways to play, namely: social tools, health tools, fashion goods.

Look to further increase of the e-cig storm eye in 20 years

More than a year later, in the article “Electronic Cigarette and Substitute Meal, Two Twenty Years to Surge”, Wang Yi said: “Today, my idea is the same: if we jump out of the tobacco market, if we use electronic cigarette as a catalyst, we may find many new scenarios. Play: 1. Social tools. Smoking is a tool to open up social interaction in many scenarios, so I believe that e-cigarettes can be added to the new social game. If you regard it as a new kind of intelligent hardware for communication, there will be many new discoveries. 2. Health care tools. That sounds a bit ridiculous, doesn’t it? Smoking is harmful to health. Even if electronic cigarettes are harmless, they are far away from health care, right? But if we think about it from a different angle, it’s just what kind of atomizer we inhale. The atomization treatment in medical institutions is similar to that in physical principle. In the next few years, we should be able to see that some Chinese herbal medicines have been added to the electronic cigarettes smoked by people. 3. Fashion supplies. Maybe not to use it as a tool, just to play cool, it should also be able to do this!”

After a year of intermittent observation and reflection, Wang Yi said, “I am now more firmly optimistic about the future of the electronic cigarette industry, if the estimate is good, at most 10 years, electronic cigarette will become one of the portable electronic devices affecting the entire generation; and if put into the 20-year cycle, electronic cigarette is absolutely organic. It will become a substitute for cigarettes, and the market size will surpass the present cigarette market.”

Wang Yi believes that from a product category, today’s e-cigarettes are still relatively primary, but I think there must be a long evolutionary process in the future, and it is clear that we can not immediately draw a conclusion about this new species.

It is also illustrated by the development of mobile phones, “We think that the so-called mobile smart terminals of the first generation, including Blackberry, which actually sold well in those days, are very different from the mobile phones which have become one of the new organs of human body in the past ten years or so.”

Why is Wang Yi so optimistic about the future of electronic cigarette market? He said it was based on the following simple logic:

1. Electronic cigarettes are addictive.

2. Electronic cigarettes have changed the original way of using cigarettes, lowered the threshold, eliminated the lighter, and changed the two sets of “cigarette + lighter” into a device, which greatly increased the portability.

3. Electronic cigarettes can be played with a strong visual propaganda strength.

4. The first group of people to enter electronic cigarettes is young people, which is more likely to catch on quickly.

5. Electronic cigarette is one of the few electronic devices that can directly connect with human senses. There must be many new functions that can be locked in the future.


Concerning Wang Yi’s view, from the above content, we can intuitively feel very optimistic. This optimism provides a lot of ideas for industry practitioners, which is conducive to deepening everyone’s understanding of the future prospects of electronic cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes are recycled consumables and addictive. If we put aside some important restrictive factors, we could reach a trillion-level market, as Wang Yi said.

However, in other words, the electronic cigarette industry is restricted not like other electronics industry, which needs to be treated rationally. The larger restriction, far from being said, is that flavor ban in USA and heat not burn products ban in China.

Policies will regulate and restrict the development of electronic cigarette industry; heat not burn will divert the consumer population of electronic cigarette.

We should not be too pessimistic about the future of electronic cigarettes, but also not too optimistic. This uncertainty is too great for a trillion-level market. But for the saying of “Look to further increase of the e-cig industry in 20 years”, it is very agreeable!


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