As every year, Jean-Charles Rios, founder and boss of the Geneva-based cigar store Gestocigars, visited us at InterTabac 2023.
A talk with him is always very interesting, he is a kind of seismograph for what is happening in the sales scene, especially in Switzerland.
Like everywhere else, he is missing Habanos cigars, which he originally specialized in. „To still get the same turn-over, you have to work double time,“ Rios explains.
New World cigars are just cheaper….and the trend is also that whole boxes are bought less often, but rather single sticks. „The behavior of buyers of New World cigars is also completely different from that of Habanos buyers,“ says the Geneva tobacconist. According to him, the Cuban customer is loyal to his brand, even line; if the cigar is not there, he rarely switches to others. The New World customer, he says, is more willing to try and also more amenable to advice, partly because there are so many products and new ones are being launched all the time.
„If the New World customer has become fixated on a particular cigar and then it is no longer available – which also happens with New World cigars – then he is easily inspired by other brands,“ affirms Jean-Charles Rios.
That’s why Gesto’s ranking of best-selling cigars is constantly changing.
One thing is certain, however: Nicaragua has long since overtaken the Dominican Republic in terms of sales figures, the Gesto boss reveals.
And since the New World cigars have flooded the market, Gestocigars has over 600 different products – in comparison, when the company was still specialized in Cuban cigars, this was only 150. These figures alone illustrate how much the knowledge of cigars in the team has had to expand, and not only that: In the meantime, the Gesto team consists of 11 people, six of whom are permanent employees.
„In general, however, I am very satisfied with our business success!“, Jean-Charles Rios is pleased. „Only the uncertainty regarding the availability of the cigars is nerve-wracking; it’s a ride in the fog.“