E-cigarette company Juul Labs has seen its corporate image take a big hit over the past year, a trend that comes in the wake of a growing incidence of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths as well as plans by the Trump administration to ban selling the flavored juice for e-cigarettes.
According to a survey just released from Morning Consult, Juul has dropped to being one spot away from the bottom in the list of more than 3,000 brands that Morning Consult Brand Intelligence tracks. Only Marlboro has a lower net favorability rating.
Perhaps most concerning for Juul is that fact that as more consumers become aware of the company, negative opinions about it rise. While the percentage of survey respondents who had never heard of the company dropped from 80 percent in July 2018 to 37 percent in the period from Aug. 12 to Sept. 12, 2019, the number who have negative opinions of Juul spiked from six percent to 33 percent.
And the youngest consumers are the ones most likely to have a negative view of the company. While 24 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of Millennials said that their opinion of Juul was “very unfavorable,” 31 percent of Gen Z respondents shared that view.
Juul’s declining popularity stands to deal a hit to the investors who fueled it to a $16 billion valuation last year. In addition to tobacco company Altria, such hedge funds as Tiger Global Management and Marianas Fund Management, as well as venture capital investors, have been reaping big benefits from Juul’s rise, according to a report in the New York Times. A drop in the company’s fortunes could easily result in a reversal of those gains.
But brand image may well be just one piece of the puzzle for Juul. Even though Gen Z consumers gave the company the lowest score when it comes to having a favorable opinion of the company, they are also the most likely to buy its products. 20 percent of them said they were considering buying Juul products, compared to 18 percent for Millennials and 12 percent for Gen Xers.
Boomers, perhaps not surprisingly, had the least interest in purchasing Juul products. Just seven percent of them said they were considering it.
To read the Morning Consult report, click here.