April 20 is a major sales day for cannabis business across the U.S. and elsewhere. And while dispensaries certainly saw a relative spike in purchases this past Monday, the effects of the coronavirus outbreak and many states’ stay-at-home orders flattened the industry’s own demand curve a bit.
Typically, according to data gathered by Headset, a cannabis business intelligence firm, April 20 sees sales jump up more than 100% (compared to April 13, the week prior). In Nevada, for instance, April 20, 2019, notched a 130% increase over April 13 sales. Dispensaries stock up well in advance of this celebratory day, often planning promotional deals and special events around the 4/20 hype.
This year, not so much.
Not only were dispensaries (and most other businesses) barred from hosting any mass gatherings of people, but new social distancing norms precluded the usual long lines and shoulder-to-shoulder shopping in-store. According to Headset data, it appears that customers spread out their purchases across the entire week leading up to April 20. (The big day was on a Monday this year, as opposed to a Saturday last year.)
“Most states showed a significant increase in sales for the week ending on 4/20 in comparison to the week prior,” according to spokesperson for Headset. “These trends show that this year, in general, the 4/20 sales boost that retailers have grown accustomed to was similar to prior years (due to being spread out across a seven-day window). Thus, rather than a large single day sales boost, retailers enjoyed elevated sales throughout the week.”
In general, product category breakdowns remained the same from last year. Flower led the 4/20 purchases this year with around 43% of sales. Edibles saw an uptick, and vape pens saw a decline, perhaps part of a larger movement in the industry in the wake of last fall’s vaping-related lung illness crisis in the U.S.