Lockdown lifts cigar sales

Category has done well as coronavirus measures affect consumer behaviour

STG UK cigars
STG UK has reported strong sales of small and large format cigars.

PASTA, flour and toilet paper aren’t the only categories to have seen a significant sales uplift during lockdown – cigar sales have been soaring.

According to the latest figures provded by Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG UK) – the firm behind Henri Wintermans and Signature – changing consumer behaviour brought about by coronavirus measures has resulted in some big gains for the category.

Alastair Williams, country director at STG UK said: “Many consumers have preferred to visit their local convenience store rather than the larger format supermarket and it is no surprise that this has been reflected accordingly in sales.

“Earlier on in the pandemic we also saw some stockpiling or panic buying from consumers and this translated into cigar sales too.

“Probably because people have been at home more, coupled with some nice weather recently, we’ve seen sales of our larger format cigars being particularly posititve.

“In fact, sales from our warehouse of our Henri Wintermans Half Corona were up 20% in April, compared to the same time last year.

“Thankfully, it seems like miniature cigar sales have not suffered as a direct consequence, with brands like Signature and Moments continuing to perform well.”

Lockdown may have been good for cigar sales, but with restrictions already easing, what might the future look like for the category?

For STG, a focus on the Scottish market would seem to be one of the key components to success in the years ahead, as Williams explained.

“Scotland remains a particularly important market for STG, as we have 64.3% share of all cigar sales there and six of the top ten performing brands.

“Scottish retailers will know their local customers far better than me, so the only advice I would offer them is make sure you are continuing to follow trends like ‘value for money’, as I expect that to accelerate, and don’t be tempted to stock too wide a range as our core range advice remains the same.

“We have the number-one cigar in Signature Blue, we have the fastest-growing product in Moments Blue and we have the number-one medium/large cigar in Henri Wintermans Half Corona so the message is simple – stock the number ones.”