Online sales of cigars and cigarillos have taken off since the COVID-19 pandemic since most of these products are imported and therefore higher priced while they were also harder to find while restrictions were in place. E-commerce continued to record strong growth in 2021 due to the convenience it offers and the fact that sales through hotels/restaurants/bars remained deflated due to social distancing measures and a lack of tourism.
Political events such as general elections tend to destabilise the market in terms of the pricing and distribution of goods. In line with this trend, the prices of tobacco products are expected to go up towards the month of August in 2022 when general elections are expected to take place in Kenya.
Cigars and cigarillos are considered to be products for wealthier high-class and middle-class consumers due to their high pricing. There is very little local production and therefore most products are imported, which explains the high cost.
The closure of on-trade establishments during the pandemic slowed down the consumption of tobacco products.
Most of the cigars and cigarillos available in the market are imported international brands such as Cohiba, Montecristo and Café Crème, with there being a lack of locally manufactured products. There is therefore limited competition with the relatively small size of the category being unlikely to attract any significant new investors over the forecast period.
Despite the decrease in the general smoking population, there are some women who are taking up smoking cigars and cigarillos. Attitudes have changed in Kenya owing to women’s empowerment through education, globalisation and media exposure and some women see smoking as symbolic of the steps they have taken towards achieving equality.
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Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco
This report originates from Passport, our Cigars, Cigarillos and Smoking Tobacco research and analysis database.
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