Cuba cigars records despite delivery problems

Cuba cigars records despite delivery problems

Cuba cigars records there were in 2020 despite supply problems because of COVID-19. There was strong growth at 5THAvenue in fiscal 2020. the Cuba importer informed Jan. 29, 2021:

An unexpectedly strong business performance brought 5THAvenue, the Official Importer of Habanos in Germany, Austria and Poland, a very satisfactory result in the Corona year 2020. This is particularly surprising against the background of the continuing insufficient supply of the coveted hand-rolled cigars from Cuba.

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Cuba cigars records despite delivery problems
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After in recent years especially cigars of the brand Cohiba, large-format cigars, specialties and limited editions were rare, now also in the standard range showed increasingly large gaps. The reason for this were restrictions in cigar production in Cuba due to measures to protect Covid-19 employees.

Even though the factories were never completely closed, only some of the employees were able to work. Logistical problems were compounded by drastically reduced flight connections to and from Cuba. 

On the other hand, demand for Habanos from home and abroad continued to increase. 

Outstanding Cuba cigars development in the German domestic market

Habanos sales in Germany increased in value by 27.1%, while volume grew by 23.8%. Consumption of premium cigars increased during the Corona pandemic. Many aficionadas and aficionados worked in home offices and therefore had more opportunity for cigar enjoyment.

The start of the first lockdown in March 2020 marked the beginning of a very long period of pleasant outdoor temperatures in Germany. Reduced travel also led to increased demand in Germany. Specialist retailers with a strong online presence benefited from this in particular. These also suffered less or not at all from the store closures during the lockdowns. 

Cuba cigars records despite delivery problems
There were supply problems in 2020 because of COVID-19.

A decisive factor in the positive sales development of Habanos (Cuban cigars) was the unbroken high demand from Asian customers, especially from China and Vietnam. After the corona pandemic was quickly fought and brought under control in these countries, interest among cigar lovers very quickly returned to the original high level.

However, local buyers saw this development with great concern and annoyance, as they were often no longer able to get their favorite cigars from specialist retailers. Even the few novelties that came onto the market in 2020 had in many cases already been sold to Asia before aficionados in this country had even taken notice. 

The best-selling Habanos (Cuba cigars) in Germany were

The best-selling Cuban cigar brand was Romeo y Julieta, ahead of Montecristo and Partagás. All three brands posted significant double-digit growth. 

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Strongly divergent development in export markets

Sales to customers in the duty free sector developed downright disastrously. Here, the slump in air traffic in the wake of the Corona pandemic had a strong negative impact. Sales slumped by 61.8%, while unit sales fell by 66.1%. 

In Austria, the shock from the introduction of a total smoking ban in restaurants in late fall 2019 was overcome in 2020, and sales increased by 6.7%. Home office and decreased travel had a positive impact on consumption. 

The situation in Poland, the youngest and currently still smallest market of 5THAvenue. Despite tough lockdowns with store closures lasting several weeks, Habanos sales increased by 3.5 percent. 

Specialty trade concepts for Cuba cigars remain important 

The specialist retail concepts "La Casa del Habano" (currently 15 stores in Germany, 2 additional stores in Poland), Habanos Specialist with currently 68 stores in Germany, 33 stores in Austria and six stores in Poland, and Habanos Point with 103 stores in Germany played a decisive role in the good business result in 2020. Due to the inadequate supply of Habanos, sales of Habanos were particularly concentrated at these specialist retailers, whose Habanos sales grew by an average of well over double digits. 

Habanos lounges and terraces in Germany provide orientation for cigar lovers looking for suitable places to enjoy their cigars. The first store closures in the wake of the Corona crisis reduced their number to 21 in Germany. 

Cuban Mini Cigars also with significant growth

Sales of Cuban premium cigarillos, Cuban Mini Cigars, increased for the twelfth year in a row. Cuban Mini Cigars are distributed by 5THAvenue exclusively in the German domestic market. Once again, the global brands, especially the top brands Cohiba and Montecristo, showed particularly strong growth. In addition, the value-for-money brands Punch and Guantanamera Mini made disproportionate contributions to growth. The success of Cohiba Short, launched in 2016, continued in 2020, with growth once again well above average. The Montecristo Short launched in the fall also contributed to the positive result in this segment. The positive trend is expected to continue in 2021 despite difficult underlying conditions.

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