The post 4/20 update

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January 17, 2020
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Executive Summary

A brief overview of the sales landscape in the days following 4/20, the cannabis industry’s biggest day.

Introduction

We all know that 4/20 is the cannabis industry’s biggest day. Every year, we compile a detailed report on 4/20, covering everything from popular categories to demographics to “cannagars.” It’s one of our most popular reports, especially with cannabis retailers. 

However, another interesting phenomenon to explore is what happens right after 4/20. We look at the days leading up to it, hoping to find evidence of consumers stocking up for the main event, but we’ve never examined closely the days immediately following it.

We wanted to know: Does 4/20 have a sales hangover? Or does the sales boost linger on? Turns out, it’s definitely the former. This short report is intended to provide context to our main 4/20 report. It examines sales levels on the days leading up to and directly following 4/20, post-4/20 sales trends by state, and post-4/20 category trends.

Methodology

Data for this report comes from real-time sales reporting by participating Colorado, Nevada, and Washington State cannabis retailers via their point-of-sale systems, which are linked up with Headset’s business analytics software. For this report, we examined data from the days leading up to 4/20 in 2018, as well as for the Saturday and Sunday directly after.

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.

There’s definitely a sales dip

We compared the days leading up to 4/20 in 2018 to the average sales for similar days of the week, in order to illustrate the holiday’s ripple effect. The weekdays furthest from 4/20, which fell on a Friday this year, were very close to the average. Monday 4/16 and Tuesday 4/17 saw sales at 98% and 95% of an average weekday, respectively.

As expected, the next two days reflected a slight boost from shoppers stocking up for 4/20. Wednesday 4/18 and Thursday 4/19 saw sales at 117% and 121% of the average, respectively. This would suggest that early 4/20 promotions are warranted, as consumers do make preparatory purchases. On the day itself, sales were almost double an average Friday, at 184%.

However, the data did not show a honeymoon period after the fact. The Saturday and Sunday after 4/20 saw significantly lower sales than their corresponding averages, at 90% and 83%, respectively. Either consumers are experiencing severe 4/20 fatigue, or with a more optimistic view, people just have plenty of pot left over.

SALES ON THE WEEK OF 4/20 COMPARED TO AN AVERAGE DAY

State by State

While there is an overall dip in sales for the days after 4/20, that dip appears to be driven entirely by Washington State. Broken out into state-by-state data, sales on 4/21 in both Nevada and Colorado are actually quite strong. Nevada saw sales at 114% of an average Saturday on 4/21, while Colorado was at 112%. Washington, however, was sitting at 71%.

Colorado’s Sunday numbers weren’t bad either, at 99%. But both Nevada and Washington suffered, at 71% and 72%, respectively. Not entirely surprising, as Denver is the “Mile High City,” after all.

4/20 WEEKEND SALES BY STATE

Fading Flowers

When we looked at category sales, the balance stayed fairly consistent across the week, although flower had a pretty clear hangover effect. We broke the week into pre-4/20 (Mon-Thu), the day of, and post-4/20 (Sat-Sun). Both pre-4/20 and the day of saw flower taking52% of the pie, while that share dropped to 48% for the days after. We suspect that smoking is a popular form of consumption on 4/20, as it is the most historic, and therefore symbolic, method. Users might buy more than they can smoke on the day of, or perhaps they’re a bit smoked out after the big day. It’s not much, but the single percentage point gains for both Edibles and Vapor Pens might corroborate that!

CATEGORY LEVEL SALES

Conclusion

The data in this report show us that, while there might not be an equal and opposite reaction to 4/20, there is a bit of a course correction after the big day. However, though sales drops as large as 30% might seem significant, the sales bonuses on the day of and in the days leading up to 4/20 more than make up for those drops.

That said, retailers shouldn’t plan for the party to go on forever. Using data to stock up on the products that are the most popular on 4/20products in advance is wise, of course, but don’t overdo it. As noted in our main 4/20 report, flower is popular, but it’s sales spikes have gone down over time. Here, we see that it sees the only significant decline in a breakdown of category sales. The days following 4/20 could be good ones to get rid of less popular flower with deep discounts.

While it seems logical that sales figures would drop back to normal levels, given that the special occasion buyers aren’t coming back the day after, that doesn’t quite explain the overall dip in sales. We suspect that regular customers saved their splurging for the day of, and perhaps even overbought. Regardless, the 4/20 hangover effect is not a myth!

About Headset

Headset is market data and business intelligence for the cannabis industry. Our extensive Industry Report deep-dives into specific brands to help businesses better monitor the competitive landscape and perform exhaustive category analysis. Reports are generated via aggregate, real-time transaction data to get a unique and thorough analysis of what’s happening in the cannabis industry as the data becomes available. Headset offers three distinct products that help retailers, dispensaries, brands, product manufacturers, distributors, and investors move ahead in the industry.

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