Shipments of premium handmade cigars continue to impress. July import figures – just released by the Cigar Association of America – were up 25.5% from July 2020. For the first seven months of 2021, shipments were up 55.2% compared to the same period in 2020.
The biggest gain for the month came from Nicaragua, which shipped 24.4 million premium cigars in July, up 45.2% from the 16.8 million shipped in July 2020. The Dominican Republic saw a smaller but still impressive gain, up 10.5% to 11.6 million cigars. Honduras was largely flat – it shipped 7.8 million cigars in July, about the same as the 7.6 million shipped in July 2020.
Nicaragua continues to be the top cigar exporter to the United States, shipping more cigars than the Dominican Republic (#2) and Honduras (#3) combined. No other country ships a significant number of cigars to the United States.
In July, 254.2 million cigars had been shipped, compared to 163.8 million for the first seven months of 2020, a gain of 55.2%. It is important to note that 2020 saw significant shipping issues at the start of the year as some cigar factories were forced to close due to the pandemic.
Shipments, of course, are not sales, but cigar makers and cigar retailers are reporting that cigar sales remain buoyant for 2021.