Monday, December 3, 2012

The comforting reverse J curve on cigarette purchases

Here at the Australian New Zealand marketing academy conference, John Dawes is presenting some charts, this time of frequency distributions of cigarette purchaseoccasions / packs over 12 months.

That familiar reverse J curve (often referred to as Negative Binomial Distribution) even in such an addictive product category.

What I'd be really interested in is what plain packaging will do - I think it might make consumers more "switchy" around brands, but that the category level patterns would remain the same. It's an empirical question.

But my reasoning for why the tobacco industry is so against it? Three reasons:
They don't want to be told or controlled on it
It's the thin end of the wedge against them
Even if category level patterns don't change, a more "switchy" customer base will still result is market share shifts, at the very least it will cost more to hold position.

The scary thing for government is that the category level behaviour might not change. And the fact that the cigarette companies are fighting it so hard is not due to a fear of the overall behaviour sales reducing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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