April 2020 was supposed to bring the cannabis industry’s biggest 4/20 sales day ever but stay-at-home orders and mandatory social distancing due to a deadly global pandemic dampened the long-awaited holiday. Across the board, cannabis retailers, software firms, and data companies reported major dips this year compared to 4/20 sales from previous years.
Making up for lackluster sales on the holiday itself, however, most operators reported heightened sales during the previous week.
Cannabis data firm Headset confirmed that the industry’s 4/20 sales peak this year was not as big as other years’ but said that sales instead were expectedly high during the week leading up to 4/20.
“The week before 4/20 is always a good one for sales, but it was significantly higher than a normal April week this year — 25% higher than the previous week, as opposed to only 22% higher last year,” Headset analysts reported during a deep-dive on the Washington marketplace. “Ultimately, it seems like consumers spent as much overall as they would have normally.”
The data company, which has started releasing weekly COVID-19 industry updates, also noted that the pandemic has shifted product preferences, with pre-rolls and concentrates dropping and edibles spiking in popularity.
Point-of-sale software firm Cova reported that its clients experienced approximately 50% drops in total sales, gross profit, and average traffic compared to last year’s 4/20 but that average basket size was up 17%. Moreover, the software firm confirmed that its clients’ sales were up overall during the month of April, likely due to a stockpiling effect from various shelter-in-place orders.
Dispensaries weigh in
Dominic Ippolito, general manager for the Smoking Crow dispensary in Bellingham, Washington, told Ganjapreneur that they ran their holiday sale from Friday 4/17 until Monday 4/20 in hopes that it would stop the shop from getting overcrowded. Ippolito reported fewer transactions on the actual 4/20 holiday — from 456 last year to just 295 this year — as well as a significant drop in gross sales, but said that the average basket size at the dispensary increased from $35 to $59.
In San Francisco, Stephen Rechif, who manages the Bloom Room Collective downtown, said their 4/20 was “super slow.”
“We had about 50% of our regular sales, 50% of the usual foot traffic,” said Rechif, who also suggested that the dispensary’s location near the city’s tourist and financial centers likely played a part. “We are getting hit much harder than neighborhood dispensaries and deliveries,” he said.
Eva Sigersted — consultant for Tru|Med in Phoenix, Arizona — said they ran their 4/20 sale for the week prior.
“Since 4/20 was on a Monday, most people had already come in for the sale on Thursday or Friday,” Sigersted said. “It was actually a relief for all of us who have been working harder than ever to serve AZ MMJ patients while staying safe, healthy and socially distancing.”
Not every market, however, experienced the same obvious drop in product sales: 4/20 medical cannabis sales in Pennsylvania appeared to be up compared to last year, but that is more likely due to the relative nascency of the market, which launched in 2018. Solevo Wellness, which operates three medical cannabis dispensaries in the state, reported upticks in both revenue and customer visits, although the average ticket price dropped, according to operations manager Rocco Levine.