Boom to bust for Vape shops in Spain
Spain's vaping association ANCE reports that the country has experienced a radical decline in the number of vape shops. A year ago there were 3000, but that figure has dwindled tenfold, to about 300, reports association VP Alejandro Rodriguez. (Nobody will say what ANCE stands for, but we're guessing Asociación Nacional para cigarrillos electrónicos, with thanks to an online translation program.)
Rodriguez is inclined to point the finger of blame at a pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, he confided to the newspaper El Confidencial. It seems that someone at that firm leaked some e-mails revealing a company intent to see vaping supplies classified as medicines. That certainly seems a plausible scenario, although it hardly seems sufficient to consign 2700 vape shops to oblivion. Surely there is more to it than that.
The English-language news source The Local: Spain's News in English does note that the country has banned e-cig use in public places. But then so have a lot of localities, without seeing sales plummet. That too would hardly seem to be sufficient reason.
Rodriguez opines that there were simply too many shops opening up in Spain in too short a time period. One shop owner from Italy navigated his way across the Balearic Sea nine months ago to open a vape shop in sunny Iberia, only to find three competing shops in a space of about 200 meters (yards) on a street in Madrid.
"Madness," he exclaimed. "As soon as I saw it I knew that things would turn to shit for most of us."
Spain has very tough anti-smoking restrictions, and Señor Rodriguez claims that 900,000 Spaniards use electronic cigarettes. Still, with 3000 shops serving 900,000 vapers, that's 300 customers per shop. If each one visits the shop once a month and makes a purchase, that's 10 paying transactions per day. Barely enough, it would seem. And don't forget that the Spanish economy is hardly in the flower of health. On the other hand, with 300 shops serving 900,000 vapers, the calculator says that's 3000 customers per shop, and 100 per day. Sounds more like it.
"There was a boom for the product here," admits the hapless countryman of Stallone and Savonarola, "people thought it was a magic wand for giving up smoking.... It seemed like the market was infinite and there would be enough for everyone...." There wasn't, it seems.
So if you were thinking of moving to Spain and opening up a vape shop, perhaps you ought to think better of it. Maybe a fruit and vegetable stand.
Or a pharmacy.