The chart on the left from Cigar Aficionado makes it obvious that Dominican cigars dominate the US market. Over the last 5 years they have imported a whopping 505 million cigars. That is a phenomenal number of stoogies and the numbers keep climbing; however, one cannot help but notice that Nicaragua is closing the gap. every year.
A closer look at the numbers will clearly show that Nicaragua has increased its imports every year to the tune of 17 million when you compare 2011 to 2015 (the chart to the left excludes the 2015 numbers) while DR only increased by 11.4 for the same comparison. The five year difference is also coupled with a decrease in the delta between DR and Nicaragua in all years from 2011 to 2015. In 2012 DR imported over 30 million more cigars than Nicaragua; however, in 2013 the difference was only 10.7 million, in 2014 it was 8.6 and the current difference is 6.8. In other words Nicaragua is cutting into DR's market share every year by 2 million and at this rate they will be even in 3 years.
The United States imported 315 million premium cigars in 2015, which is an increase of 2.3 percent over 2014. This percentage amounted to an uptick of 7 million smokes. While it may not be statistically large, the increase shows 2015 as a positive year.
According to the yearly report from the Cigar Association of America, the Dominican Republic still remains the largest supplier of premium cigars to the United States, followed by Nicaragua as a close second. The difference is a margin of 6.8 million cigars between the two countries, or 5.4 percent. Although Nicaragua experienced a dramatic spike in exports from 2012 to 2013, it has stayed relatively even since.
"The U.S. premium cigar market is healthy and stable," said Javier Estades, president of Tabacalera USA. "Today's adult consumer, more than ever, demands well-made cigars with a unique concept. Lately, we're seeing that adult consumers are becoming more selective and moving towards higher-end cigars with complex and rich smoking profiles."
The three major cigar-producing countries—the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras—were all slightly up in 2015.