The Cigar Association of America (CAA), an industry trade group, has released its first report on cigar imports for 2022 and the year is starting off on a positive.
CAA estimates that 21.4 million premium cigars were imported to the U.S., an increase of 3.8 percent compared to the 20.6 million premium cigars the group estimated for January 2021. The increase is led by two countries: Nicaragua imported 14.725 million premium cigars, up from 12.345 million in 2021, and Honduras increased its output to the U.S. from 2.418 million to 3.212 million.
The Dominican Republic’s exports to the U.S. decreased by more than 40 percent. CAA says 3.319 million Dominican premium cigars were imported in January 2022, down from 5.56 million in 2021.
January’s numbers are interesting given how 2021 ended. Despite a record year for premium cigar imports last year, Q4 2021 was actually down compared to 2020 due to massive declines in December.
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.