Sales of Cuban cigars around the world rose 2% in calendar year 2010, as stogie-chomping consumers in the Middle East and China helped to offset declining revenues as the result of stringent anti-smoking laws being enacted in other parts of the world.
According to Cuban state-run tobacco monopoly Habanos S.A., 2010′s revenues reverse a downward trend in Cuban cigar sales around the world. Habanos reported revenues of $369.4 million in 2010. A boost in sales in China especially helped to increase Habanos’ revenues. China is now the third-largest market for cubanos, replacing Germany.
While China lags behind Spain and France, respectively, as the largest markets for cubanos, the recent opening of Habanos shops in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Shanghai should see China’s sales climb even higher. China’s middle class is seeking out brands like Cohiba and Montecristo, as they are seen as having an image of luxury and sophistication.
In an interview with Excelencias magazine, new Habanos Co-President Jorge Luis Fernandez Maique is quoted as saying that sales are expected to rise in 2011, despite the worldwide economic downturn, anti-smoking campaigns and certain difficulties in some markets like Spain.
Fernandez also noted in the interview that the Russian and Brazilian markets are also showing potential for growth in 2011. And with cigar smokers becoming increasingly demanding, Habanos feels it is of the “utmost importance” to create new products.
Excelencias is given to delegates at the 13th International Habano Festival, which runs through this Friday. This year’s festival is dedicated to the Montecristo, H. Upmann and Partagas brands of Cuban cigars.