General Cigar company just announced to retailers that they will not be attending the 2020 PCA (formerly IPCPR) show. This is the industry trade show. We will see if this actually happens, or is posturing. But if it is true, this is a huge deal.
I expect many more such announcements over the next few days/weeks from other big cigar manufacturers.
There is a rift happening in the cigar industry. For many years, the manufacturers have tried to walk a tightrope between the big online catalog players, while maintaining good relationships with brick & mortar stores. Eventually, something had to give.
The large manufacturers rely on the big online sellers to move large amounts of cigars. Some cigar makers will do as much business with a handful of large online retailers than they do with every brick & mortar store they service in the country, combined.
However, brick & mortar stores are vital to the cigar business, because it is how brands are built. Online shoppers expect deals and discounts. Often, they don't even care what they're smoking, as long as they get a "deal".
Will discuss this more in depth when I get some more time.