If predicted trends prove to be true, this Thursday, June 30, may be the busiest cannabis retail sales day for summer 2022, as Americans in legal states get ready to celebrate the long 4th of July weekend. Cannabis consumers are likely to celebrate independence by indulging in their favorite flower and other products that enhance a day at the beach, backyard BBQ with friends, or summer vacation in some legal destination.
Canna-tech company Surfside Solutions’ recently released its first-ever Summer 2022 Ad Planner for cannabis retailers. According to Surfside’s data analysis, several important factors are aligning that may result in a busy July 4th weekend for dispensaries and retail shops. The report “analyzed millions of cannabis transactions across dispensaries and websites from May 2021 to September 2021 to help understand future trends.”
4th of July
July is the busiest summer month for cannabis retailers, Surfside said. The Thursday before the 4th of July was the single strongest retail cannabis sales day of the summer, and the Friday before 4th of July showed 57 percent greater sales than an average day in July. This year, with July 4th falling on a Monday, there seems little doubt that locals and travelers alike will take advantage of the long weekend.
Fridays, from June through August, possess a power of their own with an average of 41 percent higher sales than Fridays during other times of the year. At either end of the summer season, the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend averaged a 69 percent increase in retail sales, while Labor Day Friday showed a 65 percent more sales.
Though time is short for advertising aimed at 4th of July customers, July 10th – also known as cannabis holiday Dab Day for concentrate enthusiasts – is on the following Sunday. For the uninitiated – when viewed upside down and backward, the date 7/10 spells “oil,” the most common form of concentrate. Though nowhere near the popularity of the 4/20 holiday in April, Surfside suggested that retailers send Dab Day advertising starting on July 5, with special offers on concentrate products.
Cannabis data company Headset in early June released an analysis of concentrate sales data from California, Colorado, Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Michigan in the U.S., and the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, British Colombia, and Saskatchewan in Canada.
“Since our last [October 2021] report on concentrates, market share to this category has increased in Canada (up from 2.9%) and decreased in the U.S. (down from 9.5%). In Canada, concentrates are the third best-selling ‘Cannabis 2.0’ category behind vapor pens and edibles. In both countries they are the fifth highest revenue product format behind flower, pre-rolls, vapor pens, and edibles,” Headset said. The report also noted that Boomer consumers were least likely to purchase concentrates; various forms of concentrate were most popular with male Gen Z consumers.
In Pennsylvania, patients will be able to purchase cannabis vape products after a mid-June ruling overturned a February recall and sales ban on more than 670 cannabis vape products, mandated by the state’s Department of Health. Health officials had cited the use of terpenes (botanical compounds that can be derived from cannabis and other plants, commonly used for flavorings or adaptogenic effects) in concentrate formulations as the cause for the ban. The injunction handed down by the Commonwealth Court allowed vape products back on shelves in Pennsylvania’s medical dispensaries; the state has not yet approved recreational sales.
A cannabis product category that has seen steadily increasing consumer interest – maybe, especially on long, lazy, hot summer days – are THC-infused adult beverages.
“Since the launch of beverages in Canada around January 2020, market share of this category has seen significant growth until reaching a peak of 2.1 percent of the total Canadian market in December of 2021. With a long history of beverages in the U.S., market share has experienced slower, more consistent growth in the U.S. over the same time period,” said Headset’s Cannabis Beverages: A look at Category Trends & Performance report.
Headset’s data indicated also that California leads the infused beverage market, and “by the end of 2021, California had doubled their product offerings to just over 530 distinct cannabis beverage products.” Canadian consumers purchased more carbonated beverages, though, while “drops, mixes, elixirs, and syrups,” made up more than 27 percent of American beverage category sales.
Just in time for summer, artisan soda company Jones Soda recently released an infused offering, Mary Jones sodas formulated with 10mg of THC per bottle, in Berry Lemonade, Orange and Cream, Green Apple and Root Beer flavors. A 100mg THC-infused canned soda is coming soon, according to a company announcement, as well as a 1000mg “syrup” tincture that can be added to beverages.
“Jones Soda is a legendary brand built from bold flavors and doing bold things,” said Bohb Blair, a chief brand officer at Mary Jones Cannabis Co. and chief marketing officer for Jones Soda Co. “Whether you’re a canna-newbie or a cannaseur, our sodas are the most exciting flavors in cannabis today, and our product roadmap will keep our fans delighted by what’s to come.”
Award-winning, California-based Good Stuff Beverage Company has brought energy drink vibes to cannabis beverages with two-ounce, 100mg THC infused shots in sativa and indica strains. Twelve-ounce infused drinks come in sativa, indica and hybrid options, for energizing, calming, or euphoric effects. The line’s summery flavor blends include Honey Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Key Limeade, and Strawberry Hibiscus.
THC-infused beverage manufacturers may be on to something, as warm summer temperatures drive consumers to keep chill and hydrated. Wellness drinks infused with non-psychoactive ingredients derived from hemp, like CBD and terpenes, are already readily available from mainstream vendors including grocery chains and convenience stores and appeal to adults who want more options than plain water or soda, to avoid an alcohol hangover.
Beverage alcohol research company IWSR released a report in January that indicated low- and no-alcohol beverage options are increasing in popularity with consumers. The report analyzed data on beverages infused with CBD and non-psychoactive plant compounds, but not THC-infused formulations.
“The alcohol-adjacent category is emerging rapidly as more people become interested in moderation and avoiding the effects of alcohol,” IWSR researchers said. “Alcohol adjacencies offer mood-enhancing or functional benefits, many employing ingredients such as CBD, nootropics and adaptogens. These products focus on how their ingredients will make consumers feel, and are seen as an alternative way to enjoy traditional alcohol occasions – thereby appealing to health-conscious (and stressed-out) consumers.”
Merchants should make note: Labor Day is not far off, on Monday, September 5, which will mark a long weekend and the unofficial end of summer. According to Surfside, it could also be the second strongest weekend for summer sales.
By then, days will be getting shorter, and it’ll be time to start planning for winter holiday promotions and advertising campaigns.