In past articles, we talked a lot about how 2021 was a record year for the cigar industry. Well, this wasn’t just conjecture or wishful thinking on our part. This was absolute fact. Now that the final, official numbers are in, we can confirm what we and everyone else in the cigar industry was saying all along: 2021 blew every past year out of the water!
A record-setting 456.3 million cigars were imported to the US in 2021. This represents a 26 percent increase over 2020 and a 9 percent increase over the previous record set all the way back in 1998. The bottom line is that, even with the supply chain challenges we’ve been facing, there has never been a better time to be selling cigars.
December is typically one of the best months of the year for cigar sales, but that wasn’t the case in 2021. The reporting shows that December of 2021 was actually a down month for cigar imports (both on-the-year and year-over-year). In fact, it was the only month that didn’t grow year-over-year, and it represented a significant 23.7 percent decrease. This is more than likely due to supply chain issues related to exporting cigars from other countries, for both cigar boxes and the tobacco itself.
In another interesting finding, it appears that the cigar industry has learned from its past mistakes. During the cigar boom that took place between 1996 and 1997, manufactures were doing just about anything to keep up with demand. As a result, the quality of the product suffered. Since demand has slowly increased (until the large jump last year), manufacturers have had plenty of time to plan for the coming years ahead. After discussing with some manufacturers, there is widespread commitment to putting out a quality product.
While supply chain issues will likely stay with us for some time to come, the cigar industry is learning to cope with them. As a result, consumers can be confident about the quality of the product they’ll receive.