The cigar industry has been booming in recent months and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. According to the Cigar Association of America (CAA), September of 2021 marked the third consecutive month of premium cigar imports topping 40 million!
Throughout the first nine months of 2021, just over 338 million premium cigars were estimated to be imported into the U.S. Compared to the estimated 361.3 million imported through all of 2020, that’s impressive enough. In fact, premium cigar imports over the first nine months of 2021 increased by a jaw-dropping 42.7%.
When you focus on Q3 itself though (July, August, and September), the year-over-year differences are even more stark. During Q3 in 2020, premium cigar imports never surpassed 40 million in a single month. In 2021, Q3 imports never dipped below 40 million in a single month.
So, where are all of these imports coming from? Well, comparing September ‘21 to September ‘20, the answer seems to be Nicaragua. The country showed a huge increase in premium cigar exports, jumping up a whopping 41.2%. Surprisingly, the second biggest exporter, the Dominican Republic, actually dipped 4.4% compared to 2020, and Honduras’s September cigar exports dropped 11.7%. Obviously, Nicaragua’s boom more than made up for these modest decreases.
However, there is a small caveat with these numbers, and that is the definition of “premium cigar.” The CAA estimates the number of premium cigars out of the number of “large cigars” reported as imports from cigar companies, the U.S. Census Bureau, and U.S. Customs Services. Since some machine-made cigars can qualify as “large cigars,” these estimates are close but imperfect. Still, the data is certainly promising for the cigar business.