In 2018, cigars and cigarillos posted a modest increase in retail volume sales, with this being a slight improvement on a marginal decline the previous year. The category’s small size and slow movement can largely be attributed to consumers’ low purchasing power and these products generally being seen as luxury goods by many.
Cigars in Ukraine, especially large ones, tend to be purchased by more affluent consumers, mainly men. Due to their high prices most cigars in 2018 continued to be available by the unit.
Within smoking tobacco, fine cut tobacco remained the biggest and best performing category in 2018. However, overall, it continued to be small with a limited, albeit fairly stable, consumer base.
2018 saw no major changes in the competitive landscape in either cigars and cigarillos or smoking tobacco, with both continuing to be controlled by international companies. Johann Wilhelm Von Eicken remained the clear leader in cigars and cigarillos, while Mac Baren Tobacco held a similar position in smoking tobacco.
With consumer purchasing power remaining low in Ukraine, price continued to be a hugely important factor for smokers, particularly in a climate of rising taxation. In 2018, this led to a greater focus on smaller pack sizes in smoking tobacco.
Tobacco specialists remained the leading distribution channel for cigars and cigarillos and smoking tobacco in 2018, commanding more than a half of overall retail volume sales in both categories, with newsagent-tobacconists/kiosks accounting for most of the remaining share. However, the share of supermarkets has risen in recent years, largely as a result of the expansion of modern grocery retailers across the country and operators choosing to stock a growing number of brands.
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