Cigar industry numbers continue to get better and better. April cigar shipments showed a considerable increase over April 2020, with gains of 133 percent. The performance was impressive but expected. April 2020 was a troubled month for the world, and the cigar industry wasn’t spared the suffering. Shipments were impacted by the pandemic, with many factories closing down and cigar distribution channels negatively affected in various ways. April 2021 was bound to be stronger.
Regardless of the pandemic, April 2021 was a strong month by normal standards, something that becomes evident when comparisons are made to April 2019, in a time before Covid-19. In April 2021, 32 million handmade cigars were shipped to the United States, compared to 26.9 million in April 2019. That’s a 20 percent difference, and one indicative of the present trend of booming cigar sales.
After a blistering start to 2021, with first-quarter imports up more than 46 percent, the American cigar industry is growing ever stronger. Shipments for the first four months of 2021 are up 67 percent over 2021 numbers.
Nicaragua maintained its considerable lead, with 22.3 million cigars shipped for April, according to data provided by the Cigar Association of America. The Dominican Republic shipped 8.3 million cigars, ranking second, and Honduras had 5.2 million cigars shipped, ranking third. The three countries account for virtually all premium cigar imports to the United States, the world’s largest market for handmade cigars.
The year 2020 turned out to be a surprisingly strong one for cigar imports, with shipments up 7 percent to 361 million units, numbers comparable to the 1990s cigar boom. It’s far too early to speculate on how 2021 will end up, but the year is off to a very strong start.