Market share of illicit cigarettes in the EU increases, but declines in Malta

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The KPMG 2020 Annual Report  reveals that, while total cigarette consumption across the EU,  UK, Norway and Switzerland continued to decline, the market share of illicit cigarettes increased by 0.5% to 7.8% of total consumption in 2020, reaching 34.2 billion of illicit cigarettes consumed across the EU 27 Member States, the UK, Norway and Switzerland).

The increase of illicit cigarettes – which consist of contraband, counterfeit, and illicit whites – was driven by an unprecedented 87% surge in counterfeit consumption. The tax loss for governments in the EU27 now amounts to approximately €8.5 billion.

France is the European country with the highest illicit cigarette trade incidence – 23.1% of the market share, followed by Greece with 22.4%.

France registered an unprecedented 609% increase in counterfeit cigarette consumption, reaching 6.0 billion of fake cigarettes consumed.

In Greece, the State lost €551million due to the illicit cigarette trade in 2020.

On the other hand, Malta experienced a steady decline in the illicit cigarette trade since 2016. The market share of illicit cigarette trade in Malta reduced from 17.2% (equivalent to 0.09 billion illegal cigarettes) in 2016 to 6.4% (equivalent to 0.03 billion illegal cigarettes) in 2020.