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REPORT: PREMIUM CIGAR IMPORTS NEAR 2022 LEVELS THROUGH Q3 2023

Nicaragua continues to be the top supplier of premium cigars to the U.S., with 181.41 million premium cigars imported in the first nine months, roughly 53.5 percent of all imports.


Through the first nine months of 2023, the number of premium cigars imported to the U.S. is tracking very close to the record-setting number of premium cigars the U.S. imported in 2022.


According to a new report from the Cigar Association of America (CAA), an industry trade group, the U.S. imported 338.87 million premium cigars from January to September 2023. That number is just 2.61 million cigars fewer than the same period in 2022, a decrease of just .8 percent.

“As of the end of the third quarter this year, premium imports have climbed back to near breakeven when comparing this year with the third quarter in 2022,” said Daniel Cotter, chief statistician for CAA, in a press release. “The data show the low point when comparing this year to last year was at the end of April. As of 4/30/23, premium imports were down almost 7% year-over-year (YOY).”


Nicaragua continues to be the top supplier of premium cigars to the U.S., with 181.41 million premium cigars imported in the first nine months, roughly 53.5 percent of all imports. The Central American country has remained in the top spot, though it has consistently been slightly off pace of its 2022 numbers. The Dominican Republic, which accounts for 30.7 percent of imports, has been up for most of 2023.

In order to beat the 2022 numbers, an average of 41 million cigars per month will need to be imported during the final months of 2023, which Cotter says is possible.

“The Fall of 2021 and 2022 ended very strong for premium imports. So, the question is, will the last quarter of 2023 experience the same strength, potentially resulting in a near record year for cigar imports,” said Cotter.

CAA calculates these numbers based on both the import numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Customs Services and information from cigar companies themselves. The trade group’s numbers are not exact because of reporting differences; it estimates how many “large cigars” were actually “premium cigars.” The differences between the two are that there are some machine-made cigars that meet the U.S. definition of a “large cigar,” though those cigars would not be considered premium cigars by most people.



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