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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A recent online poll has found that an overwhelming majority of consumers who use vaping products are former smokers, and they rank convenience as important when using the products.
The findings are part of the 2017 Vaper Preference Survey, an online poll of more than 650 respondents conducted on behalf of Mistic E-Cigs and The Vaping Advocate.
When asked what is the most important attribute they look for in a vaping device, 29 percent of vapers say price is the top attribute, followed by performance/battery (27 percent), ease of use (19 percent), vapor production (10 percent), and size (3 percent).
Preferences do differ, according to the survey, when drilling down to user types. Notably, mod users rank performance/battery (42 percent) as their top device attribute, while only 16 percent favor price.
In addition, cig-alike users look for price (31 percent), although 27 percent favor performance/battery and 20 percent cite ease of use.
"Vapers demand a fulfilling experience that is hassle-free and that's why we've seen a proliferation of pod-type systems to hit the market," said John Wiesehan Jr., CEO of Mistic. "What's really interesting is that our survey revealed 67 percent of mod and mechanical mod users saying convenience is very important when using a vaping device."
Looking at e-liquids, 43 percent of survey respondents cited taste as the top quality. And while 27 percent of respondents "don't know," or cite other reasons for their top e-liquid characteristics, 11 percent favor ingredient quality, followed by nicotine content (8 percent), and price (7 percent). Origin of manufacture and PG/VG levels ranked lowest.
According to the survey, tastes also differ with age. Vapers 65 and older favor tobacco (47 percent) and menthol (37 percent) over fruit (3 percent) and dessert/custard profiles (1 percent), while those users between 25-34 prefer fruit (35 percent) and dessert/custard (18 percent) over menthol (12 percent) and tobacco (6 percent).
The survey also revealed that nearly half of all mod users prefer desert/custard and fruit flavors, compared to closed cig-alike users who choose tobacco and menthol as their top choices.
As for shopping experience of choice, 55 percent of all vapers prefer to shop online for their vaping needs. Notably, 65 percent of vapers ages 65 and older choose online shopping as their most preferred way to shop, compared to 37 percent of vapers ages 25-34.
However, vapers do switch it up, according to the survey. Forty-one percent of adults ages 25-34 like to shop in vape shops alone. Overall, the survey found that 31 percent of vapers say they like to shop both online and at brick-and-mortar stores, while the same percentage of mod users prefer shopping in vape shops.
The survey also found that 39 percent of respondents first learned about vaping from family/friends, followed by advertising (23 percent), word of mouth (16 percent), and internet searches (9 percent).
Only 5 percent of vapers say they were first introduced to vaping through social media.
"Our survey captured the impact personal connections have on our industry," said Gabriel Benson, founder, The Vaping Advocate. "While marketing and social media are important at building brands, it's important not to forget the value of trust that exists among family and friends educating smokers about vaping."
Overall, the survey found that 96 percent of respondents are former smokers; eight out of 10 have been vaping more than two years; and 12 percent have been vaping for more than one year.
Additionally, 80 percent of all former smokers surveyed say they switched to vaping to stop smoking, while 11 percent say to cut down cigarette usage.
For longer-term vapers (those that have been vaping for more than two years), 97 percent say they are former smokers, while 89 percent of them say vaping helped them stop smoking cigarettes. Also, 83 percent of longer-term vapers switched to vaping to stop smoking, compared to only 11 percent who say they wanted to cut down/supplement their cigarette usage.
The survey also found that of the 7 percent of respondents reporting dual use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes, 58 percent spend more time vaping, compared to 14 percent who spend more time smoking.
It also revealed that 14 percent of vapers spend little time smoking, while the same percentage spend equal amounts of time vaping and smoking. Coincidentally, 60 percent of dual users say they started vaping to cut down/supplement their cigarette use, while 40 percent say they wanted to stop smoking completely.
The online poll also took a look at industry optimism, finding that 83 percent of those who work or own a business in the vapor industry are optimistic about the category's future, compared with 60 percent of non-industry vapers.
The trend continues when it comes to uncertainty: 34 percent of vapers are unsure of vaping's future, although that number drops to 10 percent among business owners and those that work in the industry.
The 2017 Vaper Snapshot Survey was a joint project of Mistic E-Cigs and The Vaping Advocate to learn more about vaping preferences and industry trends. More than 650 men and women ages 18 and over participated in the non-scientific survey during March 28 to April 10.
Charlotte-based Mistic E-Cigs is the largest independent manufacturer of vapor products including mods, personal vaporizers, cig-alikes, pod systems and e-liquids.