In this blog we’ll take a little look at vaping trends of old and new.
Vapers are a fickle bunch. Moving from bandwagon to bandwagon at the drop of a hat. We seem to be particularly susceptible to trends. Probably due to many of us sharing the shinyitus affliction – see more on that here. Some may say vaping is just a fad in itself although I think the numbers would probably dispute that. It’s been going a good 12-14 years now with many millions of people across the world.
For whatever reason (*cough money), a style of product comes out. Everyone buys it and then 15 other companies produce something similar. Often the original product really isn’t all that good in the first place. We saw this recently with the Lost Vape Orion. 0 flavour from the pods and they rarely lasted for more than 10ml of e-liquid but the device was aesthetically pleasing, so soon after the Orion’s release came the Geek Vape Frenzy, Smok Trinity alpha, Orchid Pod, Purge Ally, Horizon Magico, Snow Wolf Wocket… The list goes on and they all share the same form factor and operate in the same basic way.
But we all fall for it apparently because they wouldn’t make them if they weren’t being sold.
The first trend I ever noticed was squonking, back in 2013. Back then there were far less products on the market and vaping wasn’t so easily accessible. What was available was very expensive as China hadn’t got balls deep into the game by that point. If you wanted to squonk you had to build it yourself. People were drilling 510 pins to make RDAs suitable for bottom feeding and building rudimentary mods out of other things. Squonking didn’t take off so much because your average vaper either couldn’t be arsed, couldn’t afford it or didn’t understand how to make them. Of course, squonking reared its ugly head again in 2016/17 like a dirty shit covered boomerang (unpopular opinion: I don’t like squonking). This time China was fully behind it and now there’s a million and one squonk related devices available to buy that do not require an engineering degree to build or operate.
Again, around 2013/14, we started to see premium branded e-liquids for sale in this country. I think the first one I noticed was Grants Custard. It used to sell out faster than they could make it.
With a few online shops specifically set up to sell, almost exclusively, expensive American branded e-liquids. I used to use a website called Spiritus vapes. A quick google says the company shat itself, which is a shame. American brands like suicide bunny and Nicoticket were selling PreTPD 30ml for between £10-£15.
There wasn’t much in the way of UK premium brands. The only one I can remember was T-Max and they only had one juice at the time, which was snake oil. Pleased to say they are still going great guns today.
When I started vaping the only regulated devices available had a power ceiling of around 15 watts. If you wanted decent power you needed to go sub-ohm with a mechanical mod. This made them extremely popular for a while. As soon as we started to see regulated mods that were capable of 100w+, mechanical mods became sort of obsolete. Now the only people who use them have beards, skinny jeans, drink small batch pale ales and ride penny farthings (another unpopular opinion: I don’t like mechs).
A recent trend. It’s weird. The same people who say they don’t like RTAs because there’s not enough flavour compared to RDAs, are the same people switching to these little pod devices where the flavour is somewhere between cardboard and fresh air. It makes no sense. Pod devices are great for people just getting started into vaping. They are ultra-portable, simple to use and give a reasonable amount of power and battery life for what they are. But of the 7 or 8 pod systems I’ve tried, the flavour is absolutely shocking when compared to a good quality RTA/RDA. And when you’ve graduated up through the ranks to a decent RTA/RDA I just don’t see the attraction of a device that boasts almost no flavour at all. I suppose it’s the stealth that’s attractive but there are products out there that offer stealth without having to give up all the lovely flavour. The Billet box for example.
This is a trend that seemed to have started in 2016/17. Malaysia make some really good flavourings. They are known for extremely strong, sweet candy style flavours with lots of cooling additives. They have been extremely popular in the UK ever since we first started to see Fantasi and nasty juice hit the shelves. We’ve since seen a lot more brands hit the shelves. Whilst not all of them are great, they are distinctly different from UK/USA made e-liquids.
A trend we are going through at the moment seems to be DIY e-liquid. A lot of premium brands seem to be getting into the market at the moment. We’ve seen concentrates released from Ruthless, dinner lady, Elements, Horny, One Hit Wonder…. Kinda feel like telling them to gtfo of my house… But instead I’ll watch them implode as they massively devalue their brands, the crazy cucumbers!
I guess as consumers look for cheaper alternatives, companies look for ways to give them them or to put that a more cynical way, as e-liquid sales begin to decline due to unreasonable prices and a distinct lack of funds from the consumer, companies begin to look at other ways to take people’s money.
Cannabidiol started to become popular in vaping around 2017. Touted as a miracle drug that can cure everything from headaches to cancer, for whatever reason it has got tangled up in vaping massively, with most vape shops and manufacturers offering some sort of CBD related products. A lack of regulation or clear distinction between strengths and types of products makes it a veritable mine field for the consumer (Unpopular opinion No.3: CBD does absolutely nothing for me).
Trends that will continue through 2020
One area of vaping we are likely to see a trend in is the popularity of nicotine salts. Nic salts reduce the pH level of your nicotine solution, providing you with a much smoother throat hit with high levels of nicotine. They also give you a nicotine buzz much similar to that of a cigarette, which is beneficial to those looking to quit smoking.
Nicotine salts have risen in popularity over the past 12 months or so, we expect a larger range of nic salts being released in 2020.
Pod devices have been a big hit this year and we expect that to continue into 2020. Vapes are now smaller than ever as people search for practical products another trend likely to continue into 2020.
Regulations and Legislation
There has been a few regulations and legislation introduced over the past few years and we’re anticipating a few more over the coming years. The advertising regulations are also expected to change. We have no idea what Brexit will bring but leaving the EU may bring some changes to the vape industry, only time will tell.