Industry Reports

The Holiday High: A Look at Seasonal Trends in Cannabis 2018

December 19, 2018

Executive Summary

This report examines Headset data for holiday sales going back to 2016, in order to elucidate what kind of sales bump the end-of-year holidays provide, when they provide it, and which products benefit from it. Retailers should use it to plan seasonal specials and stock up on important holiday items, and it should be of interest to anyone who wants to know what consumers buy for the holidays.

Introduction

Cannabis, like any other retail good, sees a significant sales bump around the holidays. What better gift than an Advent calendar with 24 different strains in it, right? Or, say, CBD dog treats for the poor pup who’s forced to suffer through New Year’s Eve fireworks every year? For this report, we’ve taken a look at our data on holiday trends, with the aim of determining just how big of a deal Thanksgiving and Christmas are for the cannabis industry. 

We know these end-of-year holidays drive sales, but at Headset we’re always curious to know a bit more. We’ve looked at what’s selling from each category, when it’s selling, and how much it’s selling for, in order to provide a more complete picture of this seasonal sales trend. 

Christmas is, unsurprisingly, more of a sales driver than Thanksgiving, but both cause a statistically significant bump in sales. And there’s even a bit of a honeymoon in the new year, before the doldrums of January and February set in. Black Friday is obviously big, but this is cannabis so there is naturally a special cannabis themed day to accompany it, and we’ve got “Green Wednesday” sales trends in here too.

Overall, we see that the cannabis industry is settling into patterns similar to many other retail industries, with the holiday season being one of the busiest and best of the year. But in cannabis, unlike, say, menswear, there’s still a significant celebration factor. A tie is a tie is a tie, whether you buy it for your big job interview one the summer or give it to your office Secret Santa in early December. But in the case of weed-infused beverages, the bump they see before the holidays is obviously motivated by a desire to consume them over the holidays. See also: cannabis-infused personal lubricant sales the week before Valentine’s Day. And Christmas, actually…

But the point is, weed presents some unique holiday trends, and showing those trends in the form of data is something we’re super excited about at Headset. Whether you run a retail store or are just wondering what cannabis lovers want for Christmas, you’ll find something interesting in this report.

Methodology

Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked up with Headset’s business analytics software. This report is based on data collected from retailers in several U.S. states during the end-of-year holiday season in 2016, 2017, and 2018. That data is cross-referenced with our catalog of over 356,000 products to provide detailed information on market trends.

Headset’s data is very reliable, as it comes digitally direct from our partner retailers. However, the potential does exist for misreporting in the instance of duplicates, incorrectly classified products, inaccurate entry of products into point-of-sale systems, or even simple human error at the point of purchase. Thus, there is a slight margin of error to consider.

Danksgiving

The end-of-year holiday season sees two major sales spikes. One is the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving, and the other is centered around Christmas. New Year’s Eve is also a noteworthy bump, but the holiday season’s highest sales peaks are around those two major holidays. Thanksgiving sees a twofold bump, once on the brand new “Green Wednesday,” a surprisingly successful marketing ploy cooked up by the cannabis industry to encourage pre-Thanksgiving purchases. There is also a bump on Black Friday, the nation’s traditional day of deep discounts and frenzied shopping, but it’s interesting to note that Green Wednesday results in a significantly larger sales bump.


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Team Headset

With extensive experience within the cannabis industry, Headset is comprised of a team of industry experts, data scientists and market analysts combining our abilities in technology, design and data to help push the cannabis industry forward.