Do you know what the 10 best selling cigarette brands in India are? India’s tobacco market is estimated at around $11 billion, and the country is poised to become one of the biggest tobacco markets over the next few decades. The country has become a huge market for cigarettes, accounting for more than 12% of the world’s smoking population. However, an estimated one million Indians die because of smoking, which is an ages-old habit in India. The country’s people have chewed tobacco and smoked hookah and bidis since ancient times, which has persisted into modern times, with approximately 48% of Indian males consuming tobacco and 16% smoking bidis.
But with rising levels of disposable income, India is poised to witness a paradigm shift from low-end products to high-end filtered cigarettes. Smoking is considered fashionable amongst Indian youth, who generally develop the habit at a tender age, although the legal age is 18. However, only 10% of Indian adult males smoke cigarettes according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey India 2010.
Though most of the 10 best selling cigarette brands in India are comprised of top global players like ITC Ltd and Godfrey Philips, the majority of cigarettes consumed in India are also procured from illegal sources. The country is the fourth-largest illegal cigarette market in the world, with legal cigarettes accounting for just 11% of the country’s total consumption. A large number of cigarettes are also smuggled into India.
Tobacco crops are vital for the Indian economy, as they contribute more than INR 300 billion ($4.64 billion) in annual tax revenue and also add to foreign exchange, according to the Tobacco Institute of India (TII). India also stands as the largest producer and exporter of tobacco in the world. Therefore, despite the harmful outcome of smoking, the government cannot take very stringent measures against tobacco production or the industry in general.
Check out our list of the 11 top selling cigarettes in the world to see how cigarette sales are faring globally.
Still, the Government of India has made it mandatory for companies to display 85% pictorial warnings on cigarette packets and completely banned smoking in public places. The excise duties and VAT (value-added tax) on cigarettes have also significantly gone up in recent years. The industry continually faces increased regulatory and taxation pressures which have led to a significant fall in the sale of retail cigarettes, with volume dropping by 8% to 88.1 billion sticks in 2015.
On the following pages, we have compiled the 10 best selling cigarette brands in India. Since we could not find a relevant source listing the sales of the most popular cigarette brands in India, we have ranked the most popular cigarette companies in India based on their sales and have listed their most popular brands. ITC Ltd and Godfrey Phillips India Ltd (GPI) are the leading manufacturers, with the former accounting for retail volume share of 79% and GPI at 11%. Other than domestic manufacturers, the country also has many large international players like Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and R.J Reynolds Tobacco Co, selling cigarettes in India. However, the Indian government is considering tightening the foreign investment rules in the tobacco sector.