Recession Fears, Sunday Holiday Dampen Christmas Spirit for Cannabis Buyers

The holiday season wasn’t filled with joy for cannabis retailers.

The holiday season wasn’t filled with joy for cannabis retailers, who reported softer sales when compared with the holiday season a year ago.

Same-store sales in December 2022 fell 5.3% from last year, with a number of factors likely contributing to the softness, according to data from Chicago-based Fyllo.

The holiday weekend itself started off slow and ended with a visit from the Grinch. Dec. 23 – the largest sales day for operators in 2021 – saw same-store sales down 9.6%, but it was still the largest sales day of the season.

The year-over-year decline nearly doubled for the Christmas Eve comparison, with same-store sales down 18.8%.

And with Christmas Day falling on a Sunday, the comparison kicked off tough with nearly a third fewer stores with their doors open. Overall sales for the day were down 31.5% year-over-year.

Fears of a looming recession caused customers to pull back on their individual spending, as well. Cart size fell 12.7% to $55, according to data from Flowhub, a point-of-sale software provider.

High Points

The holiday season wasn’t all doom-and-gloom, however. Fyllo noted that older customers seemed more willing to spend than other demographic groups this season. Total purchases by people over the age of 64 increased 15.1% and accounting for 9.8% of sales in December.

It continued a trend seen throughout the year, with sales up 18.7% for people aged 65-74 and up an eye-popping 27.2% for people 75 and older. Women in the over 64 group accounted for most of the boost.

Flower was still king for the season, making up nearly half of the total Christmastime sales, according to Fyllo.

But flower’s not exactly the best product to give if considering cannabis as a gift, is it now? Headset data shows that flower sales actually fell 3.2% the week of Christmas. Other products better suited for this purpose did remarkably well in the U.S. for Dec. 21-27:

  • Topicals (+18.5%)
  • Beverages (+15.3%)
  • Edibles (+10.6%)

“Holidays are an interesting time of gift giving, celebrations with family, and celebrations with friends, and we can see this unique mix reflected in the category sales lift during this time as well,” Headset wrote.

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