Going "Super Value" in New Zealand: Cigarette pricing strategies during a period of sustained annual excise tax increases

Philip Gendall, Katherine Gendall, J Robert Branston, Richard Edwards, Nick Wilson, Janet Hoek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Between 2010 and 2020, the New Zealand (NZ) Government increased tobacco excise tax by inflation plus 10% each year. We reviewed market structure changes and examined whether NZ tobacco companies shifted excise tax increases to maintain the affordability of lower priced cigarette brands.

Methods: We cluster-analysed market data that tobacco companies supply to the NZ Ministry of Health, created four price partitions, and examined the size and share of these over time. For each partition, we analysed cigarette brand numbers and market share, calculated the Volume Weighted Real Stick Price for each year, and compared this price across different price partitions. We calculated the net real retail price (price before tax) for each price partition and compared these prices before and after plain packaging took effect.

Results: The number and market share of Super Value and Budget brands increased, while those of Everyday and Premium brands decreased. Differences between the price of Premium and Super Value brands increased, as did the net retail price difference for these partitions. Following plain packaging’s implementation, Super Value brand numbers more than doubled; contrary to industry predictions, the price difference between these and higher-priced brands did not narrow.

Conclusions: Between 2010 and 2020, NZ tobacco companies introduced more Super Value cigarette brands and shifted excise tax increases to reduce the impact these had on low-priced brands. Setting a minimum retail price for cigarettes could curtail tobacco companies’ ability to undermine tobacco taxation policies designed to reduce smoking.
Original languageEnglish
Article number057232
Pages (from-to)240-246
JournalTobacco Control
Early online date26 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
PG, JH, RE and NW are funded by the University of Otago, NZ. KG is an independent researcher. JRB is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products project funding (www.bloomberg.org).

Data Availability Statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are available from the NZ Ministry of Health Tobacco Returns website.


  • packaging and labelling
  • price
  • public policy
  • taxation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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