CC market share in Europe; prevalence of NCs in Europe?


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Hi FoH'ers,
I was hoping that some of you can help shed some light on a debate that I had with a friend of mine. He claims that a few of the bigger NC producers are making big inroads into Europe and taking significant market share away from CCs.

I asked him where he was getting his info from and he told me it was from a NC producer. I mentioned that this would be a biased source, but he was adamant.

From what I can find, CC hold about 70% market share globally in units and 80% in revenue. Has there been any significant shift in the market in Europe, where some of the NC producers have been trying to increase their share? I know that Ashton, My Father, Padron and Fuente are all selling cigars in Europe, but to my understanding, it's a very small share of the market.

Personally, I find NC cigars to be quite different from nearly all Habanos, with the Nicaraguan cigars being the strongest and the largest difference in flavor profile. I just don't see the demand for NC cigars outside of the US, so I figured the community here could give me some insight on that, as I am in the US and have not visited cigar shops in Europe.

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I’m in the US as well, so no first hand info. But I subscribe to Cigar Journal which appears to be a European-based mag, and each issue’s cigar tastings/rankings (about 80 cigars or so, much like CA) are 90 - 95% NC, many that I’ve never seen here in the States. So there appears to be significant demand.

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1 hour ago, umbzp44 said:

...From what I can find, CC hold about 70% market share globally in units and 80% in revenue. Has there been any significant shift in the market in Europe, where some of the NC producers have been trying to increase their share? I know that Ashton, My Father, Padron and Fuente are all selling cigars in Europe, but to my understanding, it's a very small share of the market...

NC producers are notorious for embellishing their own products and markets and denigrating CCs. I would take anything they say with a serious grain of salt.

That being said, I don't know exact numbers, but while I have heard and believe that NCs are certainly increasing market share and making inroads worldwide, CCs dominate and I have heard the 70-80% market share number thrown around as well. I know some of the high-end super premium NC producers like Gurkha are really pushing in Asia right now, so the number might be higher worldwide, but in Europe CCs are king by a longshot. 

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The 70% (by volume) and 80% (by revenue) numbers are from Habanos SA directly. I know that in many non-US markets, CCs dominate. But since we are an international forum and have some retailers on here as well, I was looking for some info on exactly what is being sold in non-US markets and how much.

A lot of NC producers denigrate CCs, which is totally ridiculous if you ask me. Badmouthing a competitor's product is a no-no from Sales 101.

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15 minutes ago, Islandboy said:

I subscribe to Cigar Journal which appears to be a European-based mag, and each issue’s cigar tastings/rankings (about 80 cigars or so, much like CA) are 90 - 95% NC, many that I’ve never seen here in the States. So there appears to be significant demand.

I wouldn't attribute a reflection of demand to the coverage in Cigar Journal. The magazine's purpose is specifically to help Europeans get information on NCs which is otherwise hard for them to find because CCs dominate the European market.

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FWIW, this is just my first impression based in three months living in Germany.

I've noticed that NC cigars seem to be have a big share of the cigar distribution based on the western part of Germany, where I'm currently living. In Düsseldorf, LCDH has way more NC than Cuban cigars in the walk in humidor (not sure if that's the case in their downstairs humidor). You can get an idea of what they offer at their website. Notice that they categorize their cigars by country and Cuba is one of many that they offer. 

 

 

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Very popular in the UK. Probably because they are cheaper than cubans on the whole, but also the quality and consistency is better. Well thats what the people who smoke a lot of them tell me.

I certainly would not say that cubans doninate the european market. The cuban market share has surely been massively eroded over the past decade.

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38 minutes ago, Shaunster said:

I certainly would not say that cubans doninate the european market.

Are you serious? Of course the cubans domine the market. The 70-80% figure is still true. And in France it's probably next to 90%, based on the shops I visit during my holidays.

I believe the most popular NCs in France are the Villa Zamorano line, made by Flor de Selva. They are very well priced (short robusto for less than $3), very well made; shop managers often say that their customers find them more reliable and consistent than Piedras or Quinteros.

Davidoff's can be found almost everywhere, but Padrons, Rocky Patels, Tatuaje, etc. are rather hard to find.

 

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       Not only do I concur with the articles in Cigar Journal's coverage of both Cubans and Non-Cubans, I would figure that after 60 plus years of tobacconists and experts in other countries efforts, I think it's safe to say that some manufacturers outside of Cuba have earned their place of respect by now. 

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3 hours ago, Jose_A_Rodriguez said:

 In Düsseldorf, LCDH has way more NC than Cuban cigars in the walk in humidor
 

Which is odd as I believe the status of the LCDH franchise specifies that habanos must be a majority…

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15 minutes ago, cigcars said:

 I think it's safe to say that some manufacturers outside of Cuba have earned their place of respect by now. 

In new cigar markets (ie Russia, India, China, Petrolistan etc.) certainly, in old Europe it's not evident…

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Are you serious? Of course the cubans domine the market. The 70-80% figure is still true. And in France it's probably next to 90%, based on the shops I visit during my holidays.

I believe the most popular NCs in France are the Villa Zamorano line, made by Flor de Selva. They are very well priced (short robusto for less than $3), very well made; shop managers often say that their customers find them more reliable and consistent than Piedras or Quinteros.

Davidoff's can be found almost everywhere, but Padrons, Rocky Patels, Tatuaje, etc. are rather hard to find.

 



Based on my experience Cubans are finding less favour yes. France is not the entirety of Europe. The story is rather different in Germany, UK etc.

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4 hours ago, Islandboy said:

I’m in the US as well, so no first hand info. But I subscribe to Cigar Journal which appears to be a European-based mag, and each issue’s cigar tastings/rankings (about 80 cigars or so, much like CA) are 90 - 95% NC, many that I’ve never seen here in the States. So there appears to be significant demand.

I wonder about that. I bought a bi-lingual edition of Cigar Journal (Spanish-English) and most of the reviews were for Cubans. I figure it was directed at the market in Spain & Latin America.  I looked at an online preview of their German-English edition and the majority of the reviews were for NCs.

So, Cigar Journal reviews may not be the best gauge of actual cigar demand for all of Europe.

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4 hours ago, Islandboy said:

I’m in the US as well, so no first hand info. But I subscribe to Cigar Journal which appears to be a European-based mag, and each issue’s cigar tastings/rankings (about 80 cigars or so, much like CA) are 90 - 95% NC, many that I’ve never seen here in the States. So there appears to be significant demand.

 

3 hours ago, Doctorossi said:

I wouldn't attribute a reflection of demand to the coverage in Cigar Journal. The magazine's purpose is specifically to help Europeans get information on NCs which is otherwise hard for them to find because CCs dominate the European market.

 

22 minutes ago, Smallclub said:

Which is odd as I believe the status of the LCDH franchise specifies that habanos must be a majority…

Cigaro journal is not a parameter anymore. 2-3 years ago they switched from CC to a NC magazine. Woorst timing ever.

 

I didnt know LCDH's could sell NC's.

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1 minute ago, oliverdst said:

Cigaro journal is not a parameter anymore. 2-3 years ago they switched from CC to a NC magazine. Woorst timing ever.

Unless you and I are referring to different magazines, there's been no change. Cigar Journal was started with the mission to help European cigar consumers get more information about NC cigars, more than a decade ago.

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Going only by what my local cigar shop stocks and sells, non Cubans are getting more popular year by year, mainly driven by price and consistency. At the moment I'm told they sell 60% Cuban and falling. 

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So yesterday I smoke one of these double banded behemoths sent to me by a member friend here. I did a review of it, perhaps I will post it.

The gist of it was the cigar tasted like the last General Cigar product I smoked some number of years ago. Seeing that these cigars, the regionals and others are the new bellwether cigars for Tabacuba, I would say that the NC makers should fit right in with the contemporary Habanos smoker.

Best of luck to them. Competition brings out the best in the players.

Move over Tabacuba! Maybe if you are not replaced by creative destruction you might learn that pissing off the seasoned smoker was not such a wise decision after all!!

-the Pig

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Competition is usually a good thing, but when one of the players is government owned and can price their product regardless of cost, the NC makers better watch out.  Might turn out to be a good thing for us CC smokers. 

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7 minutes ago, stogieluver said:

Competition is usually a good thing, but when one of the players is government owned and can price their product regardless of cost, the NC makers better watch out.  Might turn out to be a good thing for us CC smokers. 

I don't know how driving competitors out of business by price dumping could be a good thing. CCs aren't going to disappear from the market, so driving their NC competitors out of business would only leave us customers with fewer tasty smokes to choose from.

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 "driving their NC competitors out of business "

did you forget the biggest cigar market on the planet?             :ph34r:

 

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6 hours ago, Doctorossi said:

I wouldn't attribute a reflection of demand to the coverage in Cigar Journal. The magazine's purpose is specifically to help Europeans get information on NCs which is otherwise hard for them to find because CCs dominate the European market.

I am not sure about that assessment.  

The Cigar Journal is just about the only German-language publication left on the market.  I was aware of two others, both of which appear to have folded.  This does cover a large (and affluent) part of Europe, and it means that other than the Cigar Aficionado there is no other print source for reviews and coverage of cigars from any source.

 

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On 12/08/2017 at 4:20 AM, Jose_A_Rodriguez said:

FWIW, this is just my first impression based in three months living in Germany.

I've noticed that NC cigars seem to be have a big share of the cigar distribution based on the western part of Germany, where I'm currently living. In Düsseldorf, LCDH has way more NC than Cuban cigars in the walk in humidor (not sure if that's the case in their downstairs humidor). You can get an idea of what they offer at their website. Notice that they categorize their cigars by country and Cuba is one of many that they offer. 

 

 

My favourite merchant when I hit Germany is the Casa in Cologne, Dusseldorf's bigger cousin.  I would tend to agree with your assessment.  The Cologne Casa has two walk-in humidors, and while the Cuban one has a rather larger square footage, the NC walk-in is stacked to the rafters.  

Also note that many European countries have a long history of indigenous tobacco cultivation and manufacture, and that for equally historical reasons -- meaning colonialism and state monopolies on tobacco sales -- there is a tradition of using non-Cuban leaf.  The Spanish used to grow tobacco in the Canaries (currently being resurrected).  The Dutch sourced a lot of the tobacco for their preferred dry cigars from their colonies in Sumatra.  

And while I am not sure about other countries, most German cigar merchants will carry an own-label range of cigars, all of which would be non-Cuban.  This, too, would account for a portion of sales.

Price also seems to play a big role.  In the UK and Australia, taxation means that the price differential between NC and CC cigars is not nearly as big as elsewhere.  This affects a big selling point for NC cigars.  The same Padron 2000, for instance, that costs around $5 in the US will be priced at $17.50 in the UK (that's AUD6.30 versus AUD22.25) ... so at those prices, why not go straight for the Cubans?  In Europe, where tobacco taxes are generally lower, non-Cubans can still compete on price.

 

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1 hour ago, gweilgi said:

and it means that other than the Cigar Aficionado there is no other print source for reviews and coverage of cigars from any source.

:blink: You simply forget L'Amateur de Cigares and its annual Havanoscope. The paper edition can be found in most LCDH in EUrope.

https://www.facebook.com/Havanoscope-327627879854/  

https://www.cigars-connect.com/cigars-home/

and Cigaroscope (for NCs)

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