Justin Lifflander over at The Moscow Times has written a very informative article on the cigar industry in Russia. Although the industry was hit by the global downturn, sales are due to return to normal levels by 2012.
Luxury items perform well in the Russian market and cigars are no exception. Russia imported 2.2m handmade cigars in 2008 but supply dropped by 45% to 1.2m last year (data from Top Cigars, Moscow based company owned by Habanos).
The article was packed with facts on the cigar industry in Russia – summarised below for your convenience:
- 600’000 cigar smokers in Russia (according to magazine “Smoke”).
- Typical Russian cigar smoker is male, 30-65, smokes once a day and owns a humidor.
- Habanos controls 70% of the Russian market for cigars
- Russia is second fastest growing market for Habanos after China
- Habanos has built up a network of 260 retailers throughout the country, with a focus on Moscow and St. Petersburg.
- Trend is for shorter, fatter cigars so aficionados can get same enjoyment in shorter time.
- Anti-smoking trends have not affected industry sales to date
- Average Cuban Robusto can cost 240 rubles ($8)
- Newly introduced Cohiba Behike cost 2,100 rubles ($70) each
- Russia has one domestic cigar producer, “Pogar Tabacco Factory” in Bryansk, it produced 1.5m cigars last year.
- These domestic cigars mostly retail in Russia for between 100-120 roubles ($3-$4) each.