The 4/20 holiday garners a lot of media attention and promotional hype, but does it live up to its reputation as a blockbuster sales event?
The actual day, April 20, does generate quite a bit of sales. On 4/20 this year, for example, stores in Colorado, Washington and Oregon sold $17.66 million in cannabis products, compared to $9.45 million on 4/19 and $9.79 million on 4/21 according to cannabis market research leader BDS Analytics.
But blockbuster holiday? It does not appear that 4/20 does much for sales outside of the day itself — in other words, it’s a single day rather than an extended celebration.
The holiday fell on a Thursday this year, and if 4/20 was truly a holiday bonanza, we would likely see strong sales through the weekend. But we saw sales fall dramatically on 4/21, and when we compare sales on Friday, 4/21, to sales on the previous Friday, 4/14, we find that sales were actually higher on 4/14, at $9.97 million.
It is reasonable to conclude that people did the bulk of their 4/20 shopping on the day itself, and then cut back on shopping following the holiday. The holiday does spark blizzards of promotions, with whacked prices (for example, on 4/20 this year among all states the average retail sales price for a gram of cannabis, in any form, was $6.71. A week earlier, on 4/13, the average sales prices was $8.20). But again, this illustrates a holiday that hinges on a single day, rather than a prolonged period of buying cannabis and enjoying it.
Meanwhile, data for the month reveals that, between all three states, sales were higher in March, at $242.25 million, than April’s $238.49.
State experiences with 4/20 vary
Sales in April this year in Colorado, at $125.27 million, were up only 6.7 percent compared to the previous April, which is markedly slower growth than is typical of a month. Consider March of this year, when sales of $131.73 million (higher than in April) were up by 48 percent. In May in Colorado, sales of $127.7 million (again, higher than the 4/20 month of April) were up by 29.5 percent.
Performing year-over-year comparisons with cannabis sales in Oregon is not illuminating, as the state only allowed sales of flower (and not categories like edibles and concentrates) through recreational stores last April. In Washington, sales during April of $74 million this year rose 51 percent compared to last April. But sales in the Evergreen State were even higher in March this year, at $76.2 million.
While the day of 4/20 itself does lead to significant sales, the holiday does not translate into something like the December holidays, when retail sales see enormous boosts and carry many stores through the year. The big sales month in past years has been September.
We will analyze Labor Day Weekend sales next week.
Douglas Brown spent more than two decades in newspaper and magazine newsrooms around the country, covering everything from the White House and Capitol Hill to technology policy to crime in New Mexico. Now, he runs Contact High Communications, a leading cannabis public relations firm based in Boulder, CO. He can be reached at www.contacthighco.com
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said Wednesday that federal law prohibiting cash-only cannabis businesses from using banks must be changed. Despite recreational marijuana being legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, it is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic under federal law. Banks that provide services to cannabis companies —…
After years of partisan squabbling over the fate of Florida’s medical marijuana program, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to push what they’re calling a major reform bill. It could make it a lot harder for Floridians to get their hands on delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) products. Those smokable and edible products have been part of…
The Arizona Department of Health Services has started accepting applications for “social-equity” marijuana shop licenses despite lawsuits seeking to stop the program and make it more inclusive. The new licenses are intended to help people harmed by previous marijuana laws before the drug was legalized for recreational use last year by giving 26 individuals licenses to…
Cannabis workers pushing to unionize amid complaints of low wages and rough working conditions claim they’ve faced stiff resistance from the corporate pot firms that employ them. In January of 2020, with the blessing of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, employees at Cresco Labs’ cultivation center in Joliet voted to become the first Illinois cannabis workers…