One of the things that you’ll notice about the e-liquid industry when you shop for vape juice is that there are some fairly large price differences between brands. Why do some e-liquids cost so much more than others? No; the explanation for the differences in price isn’t as simple as the fact that some e-liquidmakers want to maximise their profits while others are fine with sacrificing profits in favour of higher volume – although both of those things certainly do happen in the vaping industry. As it turns out, though, the price differences between various e-liquid brands are attributable to reasons far more complex than the balance between profit and volume. Sometimes, certain e-liquids are more expensive than others because they are truly premium products and are deserving of their higher price tags. Ultimately, only you can judge whether an e-liquid is worth the asking price – but these are just a few of the factors that make some e-liquids more expensive than others.
Marketing is an interesting thing. Just by cultivating the right reputation and creating positive sentiment among consumers, one brand can command a higher selling price than another even though both brands’ products are fundamentally the same. Marketing is the primary reason why people spend hundreds of pounds on designer jeans. People don’t buy designer brands for 7-10 times the price of regular brands because designer jeans are actually 7-10 times better; they pay for those brands because doing so makes them feel good about themselves. That’s the magic of marketing, and it works in any industry – including the vaping industry. If one e-liquid brand tastes about the same as another – but costs significantly more – then you should examine the brand with a critical eye and come to your own conclusion about whether the higher price is really worth it.
The packaging used for a given e-liquid can have a significant impact on that e-liquid’s production cost and final price. A glass bottle, for instance, costs more than a plastic one. In the past, members of the vaping community strongly associated glass bottles with products of premium quality and expected to pay more for those products. These days, though, most e-liquid companies forgo the expense of using glass bottles because most vapers prefer the convenience of plastic bottles. Some e-liquid brands also put their bottles into colourful boxes to help them stand out on shelves. A great box can help an e-liquid get attention in a crowded marketplace, but it adds to the production cost.
Like so many of the products that we buy, the nation in which a bottle of e-liquid is produced can have a major effect on its retail price. Much of the world’s e-liquid supply is made in China, where machines automate much of the production process and the people who work in the factories typically earn less than people performing similar jobs earn here. Since e-liquid production in China costs significantly less than it does here, you can usually expect Chinese-made e-liquid to have a lower retail price than e-liquid that’s produced domestically.
How many individual flavouring ingredients do you think are in a typical bottle of e-liquid? When you read a flavour description that says an e-liquid tastes like fruity cereal with milk, you might assume that the e-liquid contains about three different flavours. Maybe the e-liquid has, for instance, a fruity flavour, a toasted grain flavour and a note that tastes like milk. The truth is, though, that an e-liquid is often significantly more complex than that. Early in the history of the premium e-liquid industry, vape juice makers realised that an e-liquid with only a couple of flavours would run the risk of tasting exactly like a competitor’s product. E-liquid companies learned that the best way to create a product with a real “wow factor” is by blending flavours from many different makers and by working hard to locate obscure flavour providers that other companies in the vaping industry aren’t using. An e-liquid with a strawberry note, for instance, might actually use a blend of several different strawberry flavours – and that’s just for a single flavour note. The more complex an e-liquid’s flavour blend is, the more that e-liquid is likely to cost.
As you’re now beginning to understand, an e-liquid with a flavour profile that seems fairly straightforward on the surface may actually contain a significant number of distinct flavouring ingredients from different providers. Perfecting such a complex blend can take a long time. Before a company begins producing a new e-liquid, that company may create dozens of different prototypes that test the e-liquid’s various flavour notes in a variety of different proportions. It is not uncommon, in fact, for an e-liquid to spend months in development before it finally reaches the market – and if the proposed e-liquid doesn’t contain sucralose, the development period may be even longer because a big dose of sweetener can cover a lot of shortcomings in an e-liquid’s flavour. Making an e-liquid that tastes perfect even without an added sweetener takes a long time even for the most skilled e-liquid mixers. When the finished product finally makes it to the market, the e-liquid’s maker will want to recoup those expenses.
The final factor that influences the cost of a bottle of e-liquid is the way in which it is produced. Some e-liquid companies have invested heavily to build production facilities. Those e-liquid companies have their own clean room environments and their own automated mixing and filling equipment, and once they’re recouped those investments, they can sell their e-liquid at very affordable prices without sacrificing profitability. For the average e-liquid company, though, coming up with the investment capital necessary to build an automated production line just isn’t realistic. Most e-liquid companies outsource their production to third-party factories, and an e-liquid produced by an outside factory almost always carries a slightly higher retail price.