Pre-Holiday Sales Are Here: Looking at Last Year's Data

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. For cannabis consumers and cannabis businesses alike. It’s no secret that cannabis consumers consider cannabis to be an important part of their holiday traditions. So much so, that cannabis dispensaries see a noticeable lift in sales each year around the holidays. 

We kicked off the 2021 holiday season with Green Wednesday. Green Wednesday is the day before Thanksgiving every year. Many people call it the Black Friday of cannabis. Headset found Green Wednesday sales showed a 33% increase in total retail sales compared to the previous four Wednesdays. As we move into the winter holidays, you can expect to see a boost in cannabis retail sales. 

2020 Holiday Retail Data

Let’s look at some holiday retail data from 2020 from Headset, LeafLink, and Flow Hub. It’s interesting to compare 2020 data with 2021 data, or even data from another year. 2020 was unlike any other. In the cannabis industry, the 2020 holiday season saw cannabis deliveries skyrocket. Stay-at-home orders prevented people from visiting the dispensary in person. Though 2021 will likely see a large number of delivery and in-store pickup orders, we appear to be returning to in-store shopping. 

Sales increased 61% over the previous four Thursdays last Christmas Eve, according to Headset. The week leading up to Christmas, December 21st through December 24th, saw 33% greater average daily sales than the prior four weeks. Consumers bring cannabis to their holiday gathering for many different reasons. Medical patients might need the help stimulating an appetite or reducing social anxiety and stress. Some consumers share it with their family. 

Flower Was 2020’s Most Popular Pre-Holiday Product Category

In 2020, flower was the most popular product category in the month leading up to the holidays, driving 32.7% of sales through LeafLink. We predict the 2021 holiday season will still see flower as the most popular product category. Cartridges were the second most popular product category, making up 26.6% of pre-holiday sales in 2020. According to LeafLink, 3.5 grams of Wedding Cake was the most popular product in the month leading up to the 2020 holiday season. Wedding Cake’s most dominant terpene is limonene. Most consumers report feeling relaxed and euphoric, the perfect effects to enter the 2021 holiday season and new year. 

New Year’s Eve Was the #1 Sales Day in 2020

Comparing the major winter holidays, New Year’s Eve takes spot #1 in terms of total cannabis sales. December 31st 2020 saw 26% higher total sales than Christmas Eve (the preceding Thursday). New Year’s Eve was the biggest single day of U.S. cannabis sales in 2020. Flowhub found NYE 2020 saw 69% more sales than a typical day. Christmas Eve was the second highest sales day of the year, at about 58% over a typical day. Historical data shows us how popular pre-holiday cannabis purchases really are. 46% of 2020’s top 10 sales days were in November and December, specifically between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to Flowhub. 

When Holidays Fall Over the Weekend

Sales go up when a holiday falls over the weekend. This year, Christmas Day is on a Saturday. Flowhub 78% of the top 10 sales days were on Friday or Saturday. The cannabis tech company predicts this year to be no different, especially on December 24th and December 31st. They also expect to see plenty of deals through the season, with the 24th and 31st offering discounts on 50+% of all transactions. Between September 2020 to September 2021, 18% of all transactions included a discount. In winter 2020, December through February, 24% of transactions had a discount. The median discount amount is $7.94. 

Final Thoughts

Pre-holiday sales will be just as popular in 2021 as they were in 2020, with the possibility of a year-over-year increase. The cannabis industry remains a vital part of the consumer’s daily life, shielded from holiday sales dips other industries see and worldwide tragedies like the coronavirus pandemic. As the industry continues to regulate, cannabis during the holiday season will normalize even more so than it already has.

Kaitlin Domangue

Kaitlin is a cannabis reporter for the Green Market Report, covering every angle of the industry. She also works directly with cannabis brands as a content marketer.


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