Cigars and cigarillos remains somewhat of a niche area in Kenya with sales limited largely to well-connected and well-travelled consumers and the country’s urban middle class. This is largely due to the high price of these products, while distribution is also more limited compared to cigarettes.
Cuban Cigars and cigarillos remain most popular among smokers. Consumers that smoke cigars are generally, well-travelled and hence willing to pay extra for a product of their liking.
With the ban on flavoured heated tobacco, cigars are also slowly starting to be seen as an alternative, with cost being the only deterrent. Nevertheless, prior to the ban, consumers of flavoured heated tobacco were willing to part with KES1,500-KES2,500 for a session of smoking, and hence may not be put off the higher prices of cigars.
The distribution of cigars and cigarillos is projected to increase over the forecast period, with further development expected in channels including supermarkets, hypermarkets and tobacco specialists. The expansion of upmarket shopping centres has opened up new opportunities for retailers looking to sell these products.
Smoke Shop Africa Ltd maintained its dominance in cigars in 2018 with it being the NBO for multinational Corporación Habanos SA. Scandinavian Tobacco Group A/S was the other significant player with these two companies benefiting from their strong presence in cigar lounges.
None of the leading companies in cigars and cigarillos have manufacturing facilities in Kenya with supplies being solely dependent on imports. Over the review period, there was a supply shortage due to an increasing number of middle-income consumers looking to purchase cigars.
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