The Korea Herald


KT&G’s Esse hits 900b mark in cigarette sales

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : Feb. 14, 2024 - 11:58

    • Link copied


KT&G's Esse products (KT&G) KT&G's Esse products (KT&G)


KT&G, South Korea’s largest cigarette manufacturer, said Wednesday that its ultra-slim cigarette brand Esse achieved cumulative sales of over 900 billion cigarettes last year.

Since its launch in 1996, Esse has sold a total of 901.6 billion cigarettes, with 405.1 billion sold overseas. Last year alone, Esse sold 21.9 billion cigarettes at home and 28.9 billion cigarettes internationally.

Since 2001, when KT&G started exports to the Middle East and Russia, Esse has been distributed in over 90 countries, and overseas sales have exceeded domestic sales since 2015, the company said.

Esse initially gained popularity in the Korean market for its slim design and low-tar properties, which set it apart from the high-tar cigarettes prevalent in the market at the time of launch.

KT&G attributed its success to the reduced odor and various flavors tailored to consumer preferences.

Meanwhile, Esse's substantial growth also contributed to KT&G's overseas cigarette business achieving a record-high annual sales of 1.14 trillion won last year.

Last year, KT&G's annual overseas cigarette sales surpassed 60 billion for the first time, reaching 61.4 billion pieces.