Cigar Sales Soar 24% as Incomes Increase


SALES of cigars soared 24 percent in China last year as consumers continue to develop their taste for premium smoking, according to unpublished figures from a leading research firm.

Some 376 million packets of cigars were sold last year in China, with small cigars being the bestselling product, rising 31 percent, according to exclusive data from Euromonitor International.

Analysts say that as Chinese disposable incomes rise, cigars are seen by many as an affordable luxury.

Nicole Teng, analyst for China at Euromonitor, said the penetration of Western culture in China has helped cigars to become popular with business people as well as the wealthy.

However, a ban on smoking and a growing awareness of a healthy lifestyle meant that growth in cigar sales may slow to a compound annual rate of 14 percent over the next five years.

"Though cigars have been redeemed as a mark of high social status and widely welcomed in first-tier cities in China, the concept of a healthy lifestyle is gradually being paid more attention by the public," Teng explained.

While domestic cigar brands such as Great Wall and Guang Yuan dominate the market, premium Cuban cigars like Romeo y Julieta are also growing in popularity.

China is now the world's third-largest market for Cuban cigars, after Spain and France.

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