The American premium cigar market shows no signs of cooling. The latest numbers for premium cigar imports, which were just released, were up 63.3 percent for the first six months of the year, to 210 million cigars. June numbers were up 29.3 percent.
There are three major producers of premium cigars in the world, and each one showed gains in June. Honduran shipments to the U.S. were up 33.3 percent, to 7.6 million cigars; Dominican shipments rose 31.4 percent, to 11.3 million and Nicaraguan shipments rose to 19.7 million cigars, a 26.3 percent gain over the same month in 2020.
Just about everything has been affected by the pandemic, and cigars are no exception. Coronavirus outbreaks and disease control measures impacted the production and distribution of cigars, especially in the spring of 2020, making it more likely that the first half of 2021 would show an increase in shipments. But the pandemic also fueled a burning desire for cigars—an unexpected boom that so far hasn’t let up. Cigar fans found more occasions to smoke, while many newcomers picked up the hobby for the first time.
Cigar shipments soared in 2020, particularly in the second half of the year, and continue to boom in 2021. In 2020, 361 million cigars were shipped to the United States, numbers that rivaled the 1990s boom.