COVID Not Expected To Hurt Holiday Cannabis Sales

‘Tis the season for America’s favorite foodie holiday, and whether turkey, tofurkey, or none of the above are on the menu, this is sure to be a Thanksgiving like no other. With Covid-19 spikes turning the U.S. map red and growing concerns about the capacity of states to handle an even higher coronavirus positivity rate if citizens choose to gather, some thought leaders in the cannabis industry are taking a stab at predicting the impact on Thanksgiving sales.

Cannabis compliance technology company Akerna (NASDAQ: KERN) anticipates a 78% increase over average daily sales for 2020 during this Thanksgiving weekend, hitting $270 million between November 25 and November 28. James Arendt, Akerna’s Business Intelligence Architect, explains that the huge sales spikes typically happen on Green Wednesday and Black Friday as most dispensaries are closed on Thanksgiving Day, but this hasn’t prevented Thanksgiving from being one of the Top 5 sales holidays of the year. A trend that is expected to continue in 2020.  

Akerna projects that the average order total will be around $83.30 for adult-use consumers and $128.46 for medical consumers. This is an increase of roughly $13 over average order totals for the rest of the year. Cannabis flower is predicted to be the top seller, garnering 42% of sales with cartridges and pens coming in a strong second at 37%. Male users will likely make up the majority of consumers at 64%, with under 30’s and 30-40 year-olds making up a combined 58% of the top consumers over Thanksgiving.

Akerna’s data doesn’t make correlations with anticipated sales and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but Joe Caltabiano, founder of cannabis and medical marijuana company, Cresco Labs, (OTC: CRLBF) highlights the fact that cannabis was deemed essential at the pandemic’s outset. “At the same time,” he adds, “we saw regulators rapidly adopt emergency rules allowing online ordering, curbside pick-up, and delivery in areas where it’s permitted.” These measures will no doubt contribute to keeping cannabis sales strong for Thanksgiving, as retail sales increased by 40% after the measures were taken and remained high even after the stimulus paid out by the federal government in April was exhausted. Caltabiano posits that the pandemic has made consumers even more comfortable with ordering online as a safer and more convenient purchasing option, with retailers offering special deals for those who choose to purchase online, further brightening the prospect for chart-topping Thanksgiving totals.

Caltabiano also predicts that the money saved on airfare, hotels, or other travel-related expenses by those choosing the “safer at home” approach this Thanksgiving may lead to a pandemic holiday trend of self-care. “This year’s new tradition could be treating oneself with an eighth of premium flower instead of buying a bottle of wine for the family dinner.” Between that and the fact that other pandemic-era holidays such as the 4th of July and Labor Day have seen increased retail sales, Caltablano thinks retailers will have ample reason to give thanks once Thanksgiving 2020 is done and dusted.

Julie Aitcheson

Julie Aitcheson is a freelance writer, author and educator. In addition to Green Market Report, her work has appeared in Vanguard Magazine, The Fresh Toast, Green Entrepreneur, Daily Press, The Baltimore Sun, LA Weekly and The Chicago Tribune. She received a full fellowship to the 2013 Stowe StoryLabs and won second place in the 2014 San Miguel Writers' Conference nonfiction writing competition. She has published two young adult novels and is currently at work on a piece of adult fiction.


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