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The Industry

Daily updates on the Coronavirus and its effects on cannabis markets

Team Headset
March 17, 2020

*Updated daily*

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the world, affecting businesses along the way, we are all watching for information on how this pandemic will impact our organizations.

At Headset our mission is to help cannabis operators succeed through data, and we are in a unique position to share as much information as possible to all of the frontline operators in our industry as soon as we uncover it on a daily basis. Please be well and stay safe - the entire Headset staff.

April 6, 2020 1:15pm

Today, we decided to see if the Covid outbreak had changed category preferences in AB. We know in the US there has been a slight shift away from Pre-Rolls. This trend is present in Canada as well with market share of Pre-Rolls falling from 22% in early March to 17% today. It looks like much of this shift was captured by the Flower category which saw a rising market share throughout the end of last month - increasing from 53% at the beginning of March to 57% at the end of March/beginning of April.

April 3, 2020 11:15am

Happy Friday! Below are two charts. The charts show the % of prior day sales {example: if you see 110 this means that sales on that day were 10% higher than the day prior}. The first shows the daily % of prior day sales in Jan and Feb 2020. The trend you see is the very predictable and regular trend of sales growing on Fridays (up 25%-40% over Thursday), sales slightly waning through the weekend (with Saturdays about 5%-15% smaller than a Friday), and sales gently climbing Mondays-Thursdays.

Marvel at its predictable beauty! Humans and AI algorithms alike rejoice in the predictable trends! Now.... let's look at what happens when we add in the most recent month....

What does this mean for you during this time? It means that things are changing rapidly. Staffing your stores and stocking your products following previous weekday or seasonal patterns might leave you overstaffed or shorthanded!

"I cannot stress enough how historic this trend pattern change is, and that March and April (at a minimum) of 2020 will forever be a footnote in the data, requiring forecasters for YEARS to come to exclude and adjust this data as they attempt to decipher trends," Liz Connors, Headset's Director of Analytics.

April 2, 2020 9:30am

Today we're revisiting the category-level response to COVID-19 in our US Markets.

Here we see that sales of product categories have responded very differently to the COVID-19 crisis. In this analysis we compare the average daily sales of each product category before the COVID-19 sales bump began (January 1st through March 6th) to the COVID-19 crisis time period (March 7th through March 31st).

Across US adult use cannabis markets, the average daily sales at large increased by 10%. This provides a good baseline to compare each category against. Edibles, Beverages, and Flower were the only categories to have average daily sales increases that beat the market at large, with Edibles being the clear front runner at 28% growth.

At the other end of the chart, Pre-Rolls and Topicals completely missed out on the COVID stock-up sales surge, both having 13% decreases in average daily sales volume between the two time periods. This implies that customers were not focusing on these product types when thinking about stocking up ahead of a potential period of quarantine.

April 1, 2020 12:30pm

We're highlighting what we're seeing in Canada for today's update. Let's get into it! We see that private retailers in AB, BC, and ON saw similar sales patterns to their American counterparts during the Covid-19 run on retail stores. - Median % Increase in Sales Compared to Avg. Daily Sales in Jan/Feb

This analysis compares the median store sales growth in comparison to the average daily sales (of the same weekday) in Jan/Feb 2020.  We see that Monday March 16 was a pretty outstanding day with the median sales growth ringing in at 60% more than an average day at the beginning of the year.  The most recent week (March 20-March 26) we see that sales remain elevated compared to normal levels but only slightly so with Thursday March 26 seeing a dip in sales below average for this time of year.

March 31, 2020 11:45am

We're focusing on Oregon today! We are looking at the median daily transaction size in OR retailers in 2020.  We see that from March 16 to March 22, the median transaction was was over $40 every day (compared to closer to $30 in Jan/Feb). This represented a 35% increase in the typical transaction size. The shaded area displays the 25th to the 75th percentile - meaning more than half of stores saw average transaction sizes in that range. - Average Basket in OR

Further, the visualization illustrates that transaction sizes are larger on weekends; however, starting in mid-March we saw weekday transactions as large (or even larger) than weekends.  

March 30, 2020 1:30pm

Today we look at Adult Use sales in WA {Note: In WA Adult Use cannabis shops are open and operating with social distancing in place}. Demand remained high throughout last week, though softened over the weekend with sales at about 10% below normal levels.

March 27, 2020 11:30am

We've got a little bit of CA data for you today. Looking at stores that remained open in California we see that sales volumes have begun to return to normal levels in the most recent days.  Last week retailers saw sales increases of nearly 100% (meaning sales were 2x a normal weekday). During this most recent week, sales volumes have returned to normal seasonal levels with most retailers seeing sales that were, on average, similar to sales levels pre-crisis. {Note: This data compares the median change in sales each day in March to the average daily sales on the same weekdays in Jan/Feb 2020. This data only considers stores that have remained open.}

The black line in this graph is a 0% change in sales compared to average daily sales (for that same weekday) in Jan/Feb 2020. In this graph 0% would mean sales growth was flat so stores were selling similar to their pre-crisis levels.

This next graph looks at the changes in Edibles, Pre-Roll, and whole store for the median store in CA (same assumptions as above).

Edibles are seeing significantly more growth and a much softer fall than our beloved Pre-Rolls. With most states prohibiting social gatherings there just aren't nearly as many joints being passed around. However, having an Edible and watching Netflix is a pretty great way to socially distance.

March 26, 2020 12:00pm

In Colorado on March 23rd, we saw increased stocking up as consumers were faced with the potential closure of Adult-Use stores in the city of Denver (Source). This led to not just increases in sales but also interesting purchase behavior. For example, it appears that many consumers picked up beverages as an impulse buy when in stores and fewer people selected pre-roll products.  Pre-crisis we saw that 20% of baskets contained a pre-roll item in Colorado; but on March 23 only 15% of baskets contained a Pre-Roll.

Colorado pre-roll basket analysis -

March 25, 2020 11:35am

Interested to see what those longs lines at Denver cannabis shops on Monday caused? (other than a reversal of the mayor's decision to close rec cannabis stores?)

General fears have been driving stock-up behaviors throughout the month of March in all states. From March 16 to March 22 we saw the average store in Colorado receiving about 40% higher sales volumes than an average week. The potential closure of recreational cannabis stores in Denver on Monday led to surges in purchases. On March 23rd the median store saw a 60% increase in sales compared to an average Monday. This was especially apparent in Denver were increased to an average of 120% their normal levels (so the median store saw more than double their normal sales volume) on Monday.

Headset Covid-19 Denver Colorado percentage increase in-cannabis sales for open stores

March 25, 2020 8:12am

Today we look at the state mandated stay-in-residence orders on adult use cannabis retailers.

Here is an interactive graph you can use; hover over each state/province to learn more:

On top of this interactive graph, we've also compiled a list of resources to help you track and reference shown information above. We've included the official government announcement as well as market specific news coverage.

March 24, 2020 11:10am

Today we again look at inventory levels. Over the weekend we saw inventory levels decline in most states as consumers continued to make purchases are higher rates than is normal. This lead to a decrease in the average weeks of inventory a cannabis retailer has on hand. For example, an average retailer in AB now has enough inventory for about 4.5 weeks of demand (compared to 5.2 pre-covid) a decrease of 17%.

In NV inventory levels are increasing, this is caused almost entirely by a significant decrease in demand as many major retailers are seeing lesser foot traffic due to fewer tourists in Clark County (home to Las Vegas). In Dec of 2019 Clark County made up about 80% of Nevada's Cannabis retail excise tax.

March 23, 2020 9:23am

Over the latter half of last week and into the weekend we saw the winds shift dramatically in some states.  The stock-up behaviors demonstrated early last week cooled off by the weekend in both CA and NV.

However, sales growth remained strong in other states.  We saw the median same store sales index over at about 120 in CO and WA {meaning the median store in WA and CO saw about 20% higher sales volumes through the weekend than an average weekend in February}.

However, in CA and NV where shelter-in-place (for CA) and non-existent tourism traffic (for NV) results in dramatic declines in sales.  Looking at the graph below, where the black line at 1.0 represents and average sales day, we see that sales in CO and WA are still above average with CA slightly below and NV dramatically below The black line represents the 'average' on the chart below.

Index of daily sales compared to February average

March 20, 2020 12:04pm

In Adult Use cannabis stores we see that inventory levels have started to decline. For example, in CA pre-covid crisis we found average inventory carry levels to be about 4.7 weeks {meaning the average retailer had about 4.7 weeks of inventory on hand}.

Average weeks of inventory carry by category in California

Examining inventory levels yesterday {3/19/20} we found this had decreased to only about 3.3 weeks supply (based on current demand). This was most concerning for Capsules which saw the average inventory carry decline from 9 weeks to 5. Some products, like Topicals, have been left out of the stock-up purchasing and actually seen their inventory levels climb, up to 14 weeks supply, compared to 13 pre-crisis.

Average weeks of inventory carry by market

In NV, a state that sees much of its volume from tourists, we find that inventory levels actually have climbed. Up from about 6.7 weeks of inventory (on average) to over 9 today.

In Canada (looking at private retail in BC and AB) we find that inventory levels are also rapidly declining with average inventory coverage at about 5.8 weeks pre-crisis and 3.1 today. With hard to find Edibles and Beverages being the most likely to see inventory depletions.

For pre-crisis we looked at inventory levels on 1/30/20 and compared sales volumes in the immediate week prior to inventory levels on 3/19/20 compared to sales volumes in the trailing 7 days.

March 20, 2020 8:36am

Through our previous analysis we have shown that last weekend (Friday 3/13/2020 through Sunday 3/15/2020) recreational cannabis sales greatly increased in comparison to the previous four weekends - likely due consumers wanting to ‘stock up’ before a period of social distancing / self quarantine. This analysis dives deeper into the demographics of that sale increase. Who was making the effort to stock up and who wasn’t?

Methodology Note: all analyses compare the weekend of 3/13 -3/15 to an average of the four previous weekends (including Fridays).

While both genders saw significant increases in cannabis spending, females had more than double the sales growth of males. As we have previously reported, males make up roughly two thirds of cannabis spending on any given day. Therefore, it could be speculated that females were less likely to have cannabis products on hand and more likely to feel a sense of urgency to stock up.

Cannabis Sales Growth by Gender

Covid-19 cannabis sales growth by gender.png

Cannabis Sales Growth by Generation

  • All generations younger than Baby Boomers saw big increases in sales, while Baby Boomers actually had slightly lower sales than the four previous weekends. The youngest generation of legal purchasing age - Generation Z had the largest increase in sales over the trailing four weekends at 42.1%. This sends a clear message about which generations did and did not prioritize cannabis ahead of a period of potential scarcity.
  • Silent Generation is not listed because there was no significant change in this age group.
Covid-19 cannabis sales increase by generation

Market Share by Generation - 2019 vs COVID Stock Up Weekend

  • In terms of market share between the generations some similar trends emerge. Baby Boomers were only generation with a decrease in market share. Dropping from 19% in all of 2019 to only 11% on 3/13 through 3/15.
  • Generation Z maintained at 4% for both time periods and the Silent Generation also held steady at 1% of sales.
  • Both Millennials and members of Generation X had significant increases in market share, with Millennials moving from 48% in 2019 to 54% of sales on the COVID sales surge weekend and Gen X increasing from 28% to 30% of sales.
Market share by generation 2019 vs covid-19 stock-up weekend

Average Basket Size Increase by Generation

  • Here we can see that across all generations the size of baskets increased significantly versus the four trailing weekends. As we saw on the previous graph, Generation Z had the biggest increase in total sales and here we can see that was driven by a nearly identical increase in basket size (+40.3%).
  • Interestingly, even though their total sales decreased slightly, Baby Boomers’ average basket size increased by more than 12%. This indicates that that decrease in sales was caused by members of this age group not prioritizing cannabis during this “urgent” shopping period and not visiting dispensaries - not that they weren’t ready to stock up when they chose to make the trip.
  • Silent Generation is not listed because there was no significant change in this age group.
Covid-19 average basket size by generation

March 19, 2020 9:16am

Adult Use cannabis sales in Canada (BC and AB) mirror trends in the US. Yesterday's sales reflect a waning market share for Pre-Rolls likely as people do not want to be sharing joints. While in Canada there is a very limited amount of Edibles and Beverages we see that Oils are picking up market share. Growing from 8% of the market about a month ago to 10% today.

British Columbia and Alberta adult use cannabis sales market share

March 19, 2020 8:30am

How has covid19 changed product preference?

How has covid-19 changed product preference?

The graph above is sales on 3/18/20 vs. 2/19/20 (both a wednesday on before the virus was in the US and one much after) of the distribution of Adult Use sales of cannabis products in WA, CA, NV, and CO. It looks like Edibles saw the biggest shift in sales growing from 11% of the market to 14% of the market - a 27% increase in market share in only 4 weeks.

March 19, 2020 8:16am

On March 16th sales of Adult Use cannabis in OR were about 75% higher than the average sales on the 4 trailing Mondays with average baskets up to $43 before taxes (compared to $32 on an average Monday). Below is a comparison of sales increase in all states.

March 18, 2020 11:51am

Looking at sales between 3/15/20 and 3/17/20 we saw that Flower sales shifted toward large package sizes as consumers stocked up. Sales for ounces were up over 100% (over a comparable weekdays in the trailing 4 weeks). It looks like people aren't going for grams in this trying time.

Washington State sales increase in flower by package size march 2020

March 17, 2020 4:54pm

For Colorado:
Basket sizes in CO grew substantially on 3/16 compared to the trailing four Mondays as consumers stocked up. In Denver the average Adult Use cannabis basket before taxes was $58 (compared to $45 on an average Monday). This sales growth was seen in other cities as well with the average basket in other cities in CO also up 29%. Much of this increase in Flower sales which were up over 80% compared to an average Monday.For Products here is some CA data:

Looking at Adult Use cannabis sales data in CA we find that as Californian's rushed to stock up on cannabis products we saw both Edibles and Beverages see significant sales lifts. One of the most stocked up on products was Plus Products Gummies which saw a sales boost of 157% compared to a normal Monday as well as Lagunita's Hi-Fi beverages which saw a boost of 70% compared to an average Monday. Pre-Rolls were the least stocked up product, however, single strain CBD Pre-Rolls did see a boost of over 100%. In PreRolls Indica's saw a large sales boost (~40%) compared to Sativas (~25%).For Products here is some NV data:

While sales boosts in NV were not as dramatic as WA or CA we did see Flower sales boosted on Monday to just over 50% higher than the trailing four Mondays. There were bigger winners though; both Old Pal and Garden of Weeden who's Flower products saw sales of over 2x normal on 3/16/20 compared to the trailing four Mondays.

March 17, 2020 4:11pm

For Canada (specifically AB) on 3/16 the median like-store sales growth (compared to the prior 4 Mondays) was 65% with some stores seeing sales over double their normal Monday volumes.  Interestingly, this occurred more in the morning hours.  During the hours between 10am and 12pm we see that sales volumes were about 155% higher than average.  This was due both due increases in transaction volume (with the average number of transactions per hour up about 70%) and an increase in average basket size with average baskets between 9am and 1pm average $55 CAD (before taxes) compared to average baskets of $36 on the prior four Mondays.

March 17, 2020 2:21pm

For yesterday in CA. We did not see sales crest 4/20 spikes though it was close. In CA Adult Use Cannabis sales yesterday (3/16/20) were 56% higher than the trailing 4 Mondays (for comparison 4/20 was 122% larger than an average Saturday). However, Edibles saw gains of 107% over normal volumes yesterday (so sales were twice as high) and on 4/20 of last year it Edibles were boosted 120%, so pretty darn close. Since Edibles give you a great way to consume cannabis with very little touching your face I think that could point to Coronavirus sales spikes.

March 16, 2020 2:15pm

Sales of Adult Use cannabis in WA were up 23% on Friday, 14% on Saturday, and 33% on Sunday (over prior week). This was driven by a modest increase in total baskets (about 6% increase in tickets) and a large increase in average basket.

Average baskets on Sunday were $33.70 before taxes, up 22% over the prior week and 28% compared to baskets in Jan and Feb of this year. The increase in average basket size was driven by increases in stock-up baskets with over 21% of baskets being greater than $50 (before taxes) compared to only 16% in the prior week.

Edibles saw a 51% increase in sales, Flower just over 20%, Concentrates and Topicals saw the smallest increases.

In Edibles Craft Elixirs and 4.20 bar saw some pretty out of the ordinary increases with sales jumping 90% and 80% respectively.

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