Boca Raton, Fla. — Philip Morris USA (PM USA) is preparing to introduce its non-combustible tobacco product IQOS to new markets in April.
The entry into Charlotte, North Carolina will take place six months after the operating company of Altria Group Inc. starts commercializing alternative tobacco products in the United States.
IQOS is a key part of Altria’s heat-not-burn platform, thanks to the agreement between PM USA and Philip Morris International (PMI), the latter is the international tobacco leader behind heat-not-burn products.
IQOS currently has two markets in the United States. PM USA first introduced the product to the Atlanta market in the early fall of 2019, and then expanded to the Richmond, Virginia market in November.
According to Howard Willard, Altria’s chairman and chief executive officer, the company is using a variety of methods to attract adult smokers and promote IQOS trials. These methods include paid media, communications through its adult tobacco consumer database, and retail touchpoints in its boutiques and trading partner stores.
On February 19th, Willard highlighted several findings of his first introduction of IQOS in Atlanta at the New York Consumer Analysis Group meeting in Boca Raton:
- More than half of adult smokers who have tried IQOS eventually bought the product;
- More than half of adult smokers who purchase IQOS are between 21 and 39 years old; and
- Nearly three-quarters of buyers are men.
Willard pointed out: “The key to learning from our main market is that IQOS is resonating among adult smokers.” We are concerned about the transition from awareness to consumers, and we are encouraged by the fact that many adult smokers A correlation was found between real tobacco, less odor, and the IQOS claim without soot. ”
The expansion in Charlotte will include several enhancements over earlier releases, such as:
- A more destructive retail fixture to promote awareness and experimentation;
- Use more mobile retail points to expand the reach of competitive adult smokers; and
- The boutique store in the central location has a small footprint and allows guided trials throughout the store.
According to Willard, PMI plans to submit a supplementary pre-market tobacco application for IQOS 3 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The upgraded device charges faster than the currently authorized 2.4 devices, which should be able to resolve some feedback from consumers about the charging time.
PMI’s revised risk applicati