The KPMG 2020 Annual Report on Illicit Cigarette Consumption in the EU, UK, Norway and Switzerland

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.

This reduction is attributed to effective Customs controls and tax stability. The estimated total tax revenue lost for Malta in 2020 was €6 million.

Business Royals is the cigarette brand which remains the main driver of this illicit trade in Malta.

The latest annual report by KPMG on illicit cigarette consumption in the EU, UK, Norway and Switzerland, covers the period of 1st January 2020 – 31st December 2020. The detailed report may be accessed through the following link:—illicit-cigarette-consumption-in-the-eu-uk-norway-and-switzerland—2020-results.pdf