The 2015 Havana Cigar Festival in Havana kicked off on February 23, 2015 with a press conference with four new cigars: a Romeo y Julieta Gran Reserva Cosecha 2009, Montecristo 80 Aniversario and a pyramid and robusto extra from La Gloria Cubana.
The big news was that Habanos, the global distribution and marketing organization for Cuban cigars, reported sales of $439 million. It was actually a decline of one percent in sales compared to 2013. Luis Sanchez-Harguindey, co-president of Habanos, commented, “It was an overall positive year considering the complicated economic climate around the world.”
Habanos doesn’t want to say how many cigars they sell per year, but estimates are around 80 million cigars.
In 2014, ranking of sales by country was still dominated by Spain and France, followed by China, including Hong Kong and Macao. Cohiba still leads the pack for the best Cuban cigar brands followed by Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta. Finally, the rank of sales of finished products in 2014 was lead by Partagas Series D No. 4, closely followed by Cohiba Robusto and Montecristo No. 2.
Concerning the recent announcement of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States, Javier Terres, vice-president of business development, added that although everything is merely speculative in what concerns futures sales in the United States as well as Cuba, they expect that the American market will take over 30 percent of the global market share.
“Many will think that this is a conservative figure, but with those numbers we would be leading the market [in the United States],” added Jorge Luis Fernández Maique, commercial vice-president of Habanos. Both vice presidents emphasized that all data is merely speculative, but have faith.
We already estimate that Americans account for 40 to 50 percent of all Cuban cigars exported around the world through sales in official wine shops in such markets as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Canada and Mexico.