Is the Future of Cannabis in the Hands of e-Commerce?

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The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

Despite the inauspicious beginning of 2020, Hawke Media believes the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented opportunities for companies in the right industries: specifically cannabis.

Hawke Media, a digital marketing company operating as an “outsourced” chief marketing officer (CMO), believes that such an opportunity existed, and still exists, at the convergence of the e-commerce, consumer packaged goods (CPG), and cannabis spaces.

Such thinking has won the company a couple of Fortune 500 and Stevie awards and has placed brands such as Mailchimp, LinkedIn Corp. LNKD, and Trustpilot Group TRST in their repository of well-acclaimed partners. 

Despite the boom and bust of the cannabis industry in early 2017, Hawke Media believes the opportunity for the use of e-commerce is still within grasp. 

Cannabis Industry Context

As the shift for FDA regulation and legalization changes, the cannabis industry seems to be booming: sales hitting almost $17.5 billion this year, and a projected market size of over $97.35 billion by 2026.

WIth the recognition that cannabis might have significant medical benefits, easing pain in a safer method than opioids or NSAIDs, people have been drawn to the therapeutic effects. Not to mention, it has been noted that it may help treat some psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression as well.

Companies like Green Thumb Industries GTBIF, Trulieve Cannabis TCNNF, and GrowGeneration GRWG have capitalized on this upswing, as growers, retailers, and ancillary providers in this ever changing space. New companies emerge daily, finding a niche for cannabis enthusiasts everywhere.

Drop Delivery, for instance, has developed unique apps for cannabis delivery services. The Greater Cannabis Company is working on a multifunctional, oral delivery platform in the form of a patch for its product, and HydraUnlimited has created a hydroponics product HydraMax to grow cannabis in a more efficient way. 

Covid Impact and Opportunity

Where does the topic of e-commerce tie into the growing cannabis industry?

For starters, it’s no secret that the initial economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were disastrous. After a relatively steady rise for almost a decade, the S&P 500 SPY fell 121 points in as little as 4 days, marking the sharpest decline the exchange-traded fund (ETF) had ever seen. As the market fell into a panic, hundreds of companies that rank amongst the best in the world experienced intense drops in their valuations.

However, despite the overwhelming negativity, some companies found themselves in a position of opportunity. According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTD), e-commerce sales spiked on a global scale. Latin America, Africa, China, and Thailand all experienced huge sales volume increases, sometimes up to 50% compared to the previous quarter.North America told a similar story. Inc. AMZN, for example, recorded profits of $6 billion, marking a 200% increase since the onset of the pandemic.

For reasons that may be more complicated than accessibility, most of the cannabis industry missed out on that opportunity. One study reports that in Canada, cannabis consumption increased by as much as 50% after the pandemic began. Another report shows that cannabis users sustained this increase as the pandemic prolonged.

With an unprecedented demand for an easier pathway to consumer products, Hawke Media believes the key to delving into the industry’s untapped potential lies, in part, at the hands of e-commerce integration.

“We see the cannabis space as one of our biggest opportunities headed into 2022,” Head of Growth Madison Fiore said. “Over the last 3 years we have worked with over 50 brands in the cannabis or hemp vertical and we expect that to continue to be a great client type for us.”

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

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