With Strong Sales History And Pandemic Restrictions Waning, Cannabis Leaders Discuss 4/20 Market Expectations

It's no secret that cannabis' high holiday, 4/20, is a sales driver.

Data provided by firms and various market leaders helps break down the market boom, highlighting core driving demographics and the products people seek out.

At the same time, some market leaders urge brands to think beyond the holiday if they want to achieve success.

The High Holiday Generates High Sales

March 2022 data from analytics firm Headset reported that the four weeks leading up to the big day last year boosted Canadian basket volumes by 52% and 86% in the U.S.

The year will also produce exciting consumer data, with Headset noting a 5% drop in US flower sales, declining from 46% to 41% over the past 11 months. Meanwhile, pre-rolls (over 25%), vape pens (14%) and edibles (11%) have all seen market shares increase.

State-level sales will vary compared to national averages. For example, flower held the dominant market share in California with 37.8%, with concentrates (27.7%) and edibles (23.7%) trailing behind, according to data provided by dispensary point of sale software Blaze.

The firm also reports that California holiday sales boomed, generating over 62,700 sales on last year's 4/20 compared to roughly 33,250 sales the day before.

The holiday is also youth-driven, with Headset reporting Gen Z sales surging 168% over the previous four weeks in 2021, while Boomer sales grew 91%.

Overall, Headset predicts a 100% sales increase in the US and 50% in Canada during the same window this year.

Much To Celebrate For Businesses And Consumers

Sources tell Benzinga that 4/20 remains the prime sales driver during the year. With minimal pain points, save for inventory and staff preparedness, company leaders see the day to celebrate the plant and its profits.

Various other holidays are helping boost pot sales throughout the year. Cannabis-centric holidays include 7/10, the July celebration of concentrated cannabis products, and Green Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

"April 20th has traditionally been one of our busiest days of the year in terms of sales volume and basket size, and we expect this year to be busier than ever before," said Marimed Inc MRMD COO Tim Shaw.

Traditional US holidays also boost sales, with Black Friday and the following holiday shopping period typically providing increased returns. Holidays and surrounding dates helping increase U.S. sales include July 4th and New Year's Eve.

The noted strong sales during traditional holidays are seen as a positive sign for the market's maturation.

"While 420 is our largest day, Black Friday is a close second, which reflects how cannabis is beginning to follow the more traditional sales cycles of mainstream retail," said Talley Wettlaufer, SVP of Retail at Curaleaf Holdings Inc CURLF.

Several companies are celebrating the somewhat return to normalcy post-pandemic. While sales primarily performed well during the pandemic, some feel 2022 marks a higher level of market enthusiasm.

Andy Palalas, chief revenue officer of High Tide Inc HITI, a brand operating in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, said the company saw an 80% sales increase on 4/20 last year, according to company sales reports.

Despite the sales boom likely boosting spirits, 2022 may bring even more enthusiasm.

"2022 is a moment where restrictions from the pandemic have been lifted in many of the territories that we operate, allowing cannabis users to gather and celebrate the holiday like they haven't been able to since 2019," said Palalas.

Blake Schroeder, CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc MJNA, offered a similar take. As pandemic restrictions decline, Schroeder expects sales projections to return to more robust growth trajectories.

"With in-person 4/20 events and dispensaries open, we foresee sales will be abundant this year," Schroeder predicted.

Potential Pitfalls To Avoid

Some caution businesses not to assume that 4/20 will be a success. Nor should operators rely on the day to boost bottom lines.

Andrew DeNapoli, Item 9 Labs director of sales said brands need to set themselves apart from the crowded holiday offerings.

"We also put a tremendous amount of effort into fostering trusted partnerships with our dispensary partners and creating promotions and merch to give away that their consumers will appreciate," DeNapoli said, calling 4/20 a day to thank the consumers.

Mary Pryor, an advisory committee member for TPCO Holding Corp GRAMF social equity fund and co-founder of equitable advocacy firm CannaClusive, offered a similar opinion.

"I want people to get beyond 4/20," said Pryor, imploring marketing teams to focus beyond the tent pole.

4/20 should be a day catering beyond plant enthusiasts, appealing to the mainstream market, said Pryor. If a company does choose to target enthusiasts, it must offer authenticity to stand out.

Companies should expect sales to jump on 4/20, but Pryor believes they shouldn't be discouraged if the big day isn't a primary sales driver.

"It's not important to make 4/20 be the essential thing to make your marketing plan kick-off," she said.

Photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com

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