2020 was a great year for 5th Avenue. The official Habanos importer in Germany, Austria, and Poland announces a very strong 2020. This is surprising because of the covid-19 pandemic. That pandemic disrupts the supply chain and saw lock-downs affecting the opening hours of Habanos retailers.
The disruption in the supply chain has several reasons. There are serious supply issues with large-format cigars and the Cohiba brand. Specialties and edicion limitada cigars are also harder to get than in non-pandemic years. The lack of big wrapper leaves and the restrictions in cigar production are the cause. Even though the factories were never completely closed, only a part of the employees could go about their work. To make matters worse, there were logistical problems caused by the drastically reduced flight connections to and from Cuba.
The domestic and international demand for Habanos continues to grow. The turnover of Habanos in Germany saw a rise of 27.1% with a volume increase of 23.8%. The pandemic only results in an increase in cigar consumption. Many cigar enthusiasts had to work from home, creating more opportunities to enjoy a cigar. The early spring made it possible to enjoy cigars outdoors due to the pleasant temperatures. The sales in Poland grew by 3.5%.
A decisive factor in the positive sales development of Habanos was the high demand from China and Vietnam. Cigar enthusiasts from these two major markets order in Germany a lot. That is to the annoyance of local cigar enthusiasts as it creates even more shortages on the German market. The few new products that came onto the market in 2020 were also often sold to Asia before the aficionados in this country had even noticed them.
But not all is good. The duty-free sales collapsed with a decline of almost 62% in Germany and more than 66% in Austria.
best selling brands
The best-selling Habanos brands in Germany are Romeo y Julieta Mille Fleur, Quintero Favoritos, Partagás Serie D No.4, and José L. Piedra Petit Cazadores. The brands with the highest sales and turnover are Romeo y Julieta, ahead of Montecristo and Partagás. All three brands posted clear double-digit growth.
The main focus for 5th Avenue is the retail concepts such as La Casa del Habano, Habanos Specialist, and Habanos Points. Other tobacco retailers, not part of these programs had a tougher year as 5th Avenue didn’t have the stock to supply them efficiently. The stores within these programs saw a double-digit rise in sales on average.
The sale of the Cuban mini cigars grew exponentially as well, for the 12th consecutive year. 5th Avenue is only selling these in Germany. 5th Avenue is expecting that this segment of the market will continue to grow in 2021.