Nicaragua continued its dominance, shipping 20.3 million cigars, up 62 percent from the 12.5 million shipped in May 2020. The Dominican Republic ranked second, with 12.2 million cigars shipped, nearly triple the 4.1 million shipped in May 2020. Honduras, the third largest producer, shipped 6.3 million cigars, more than double what it did last May.
The cigar market boomed during the pandemic, with Americans stuck at home having more time to reward themselves with the affordable luxury of a fine cigar. The second half of 2020 was remarkably strong, and December 2020 in particular was one of the best months in modern memory, with 71 percent growth over December 2019 numbers. For the year 2020, imports grew by seven percent, reaching 361 million cigars, one of the best years since the 1990s cigar boom. The burning question is whether the cigar market can continue to show gains in the second half of 2021.