Philip Morris International’s heated tobacco product IQOS replaces Marlboro as its leading brand

09 Feb 2024 · 3 min read
The company’s flagship smoke-free innovation has surpassed our best-selling cigarette brand to become the premium nicotine brand globally less than a decade since its launch, demonstrating the progress we’re making as we move away from cigarettes.
Philip Morris International R&D center in Neuchatel, Switzerland

PMI’s Fourth-Quarter 2023 results reveal our heated tobacco product, IQOS, has overtaken our leading cigarette brand, Marlboro, in terms of net revenues for the first time.

With IQOS now our top nicotine product—less than a decade since its launch—coupled with the fact that today it accounts for more than 50 percent of our total net revenues in 25 markets, we’re demonstrating significant strides toward becoming a company that no longer sells cigarettes.

Backed by a robust business performance in 2023, it’s an achievement that brings into sharper focus the 2016 announcement of our ambition to deliver a smoke-free future—by providing adults who would otherwise continue to smoke with science-based better alternatives to cigarettes.

“Our business delivered a strong finish to 2023 and we achieved a number of remarkable milestones on our path to becoming a smoke-free company,” said Jacek Olczak, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We are pleased that smoke-free products reached nearly 40 percent of our total net revenues and over 40 percent of our gross profit in the fourth quarter.

“This was led by the continued growth of IQOS, which has now surpassed Marlboro in terms of net revenues, confirming its position as the leading premium nicotine brand less than 10 years from launch.”

Mr. Olczak also highlighted the success of PMI’s combination with Swedish Match, which produces leading nicotine pouches and snus products, one year after acquiring the company, adding that “very strong results” were “driven by the stellar U.S. performance of nicotine pouch brand ZYN”—the fastest growing U.S. smoke-free brand.

Looking ahead, Mr. Olczak commented: “We are entering 2024 with strong momentum, and we expect it will be another year of excellent performance underpinned by an acceleration in organic smoke-free net revenue and profit growth.”

Our 2023 Q4 and Full-Year results reveal our continuing progress

Important Note: All figures are as of December 31, 2023. This article should be read in conjunction with the Philip Morris International Inc. earnings release dated April 23, 2024, as well as the accompanying glossary of key terms, definitions, explanatory notes, select financial information and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures, both of which are available on our Investor Relations pages.

We have made significant progress in our drive to replace cigarettes with better alternatives for the nine out of 10 adult smokers who, in any given year, would otherwise continue to smoke.

In 2023, we announced our updated ambition for more than two-thirds of the company’s total net revenues to come from smoke-free products by 2030.

We believe that with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.

The strength of our business performance reveals the demand that exists for smoke-free alternatives among those adults who don’t quit smoking.

It’s our mission to ensure governments recognize the potential these products can play in making cigarettes obsolete—and make them aware of the consequences of not doing so.