Give 2 Cigar Aficionado Gift Subscriptions for the Price of 1!

Cigar Industry

U.S. Cigar Imports Slow in First Quarter

Jun 29, 2020 | By David Savona
U.S. Cigar Imports Slow in First Quarter

Cigar shipments in the U.S. were down in the first quarter of the year, off 9.5 percent from the first three months of 2019. Only some of this slowdown, however, can be blamed on the effects of the pandemic, as it wasn’t until March when cigar factories began to close, interrupting shipments. A greater slowdown is expected for the months of April and May, the peak of the shutdown across the cigar industry.

U.S. Cigar Imports, First Quarter

In Millions of Cigars
Country 2019 2020 Change
Nicaragua 38.1 35.6   -6.6%
Dominican Republic 20.8 18.2 -12.5%
Honduras 13.2 11.4 -13.6%
Other   0.4   0.4    0.0%
Total 72.5 65.6   -9.5%
Source: Cigar Association of America.

Shipments from Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Honduras—the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 producers, in order—were all down for Q1, but the decreases were more severe in the Dominican Republic and Honduras. Honduras was the first major producer to shut down non-essential businesses (including the nation’s cigar factories), closing down operations on March 17. Some factories in the Dominican Republic began to close soon after, and some of these closures lasted for two months, meaning shipments in April and even May should show an even steeper decline. Nicaragua was the least affected by the shutdown, with many cigar factories remaining open throughout the pandemic.

Market leader Nicaragua shipped 35.6 million cigars in the first quarter of 2020, down 6.6 percent from the 38.1 million shipped in Q1 of 2019, according to the Cigar Association of America. Dominican shipments slipped from 20.8 million to 18.2 million, a decrease of 12.5 percent, while Honduras dropped 13.6 percent, from 13.2 million to 11.4 million.

The United States imported 337.7 million handmade cigars in 2019, the eighth year in a row where imports surpassed 300 million. The market was down 6.6 percent from the stunning 362 million imported in 2018, the most cigars imported in two decades.

Dominican Republic Honduras Nicaragua

More in Cigar Industry

See all
Miami Cigar & Co. Cutting Its Sales Force

Miami Cigar & Co. Cutting Its Sales Force

Cigar distributor and brand owner Miami Cigar & Co. is restructuring management and significantly …

Dec 3, 2020
ProCigar Festival Not Happening in February

ProCigar Festival Not Happening in February

The ProCigar Festival in the Dominican Republic will not be taking place in February as scheduled—the …

Dec 2, 2020
Cigar Shipments to U.S. Soar in September

Cigar Shipments to U.S. Soar in September

Imports of premium, handmade cigars were exceptionally strong in the month of September, showing …

Nov 18, 2020
New York Tobacconists Respond to Statewide Tax Hike

New York Tobacconists Respond to Statewide Tax Hike

The first of October marked the closure of a tax loophole that allowed New York tobacconists to …

Nov 11, 2020
Cigars For Warriors Begins Fundraiser for U.S. Troops Tomorrow

Cigars For Warriors Begins Fundraiser for U.S. Troops Tomorrow

Due to Covid-19, Operation: Cigars for Warriors has seen a dramatic drop in donations. The charity is …

Nov 10, 2020
Hurricane Eta Spares Tobacco in Central America

Hurricane Eta Spares Tobacco in Central America

Tobacco growers in Central America are breathing sigh of relief. Although Hurricane Eta and its …

Nov 9, 2020