Cannabis companies are reporting record 4/20 sales this year despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, as overall purchases in North America rebounded 8.4 per cent compared to 2020, according to retail data firm Cova Software.
While April 20 is historically the industry’s biggest sales day, the pandemic crushed celebration plans last year pushing sales down 50 per cent from revenues in 2019, when 4/20 landed on a Saturday.
But even though weed’s unofficial holiday was nowhere near a return to normalcy in 2021, Colorado-based Cova said Thursday that retail traffic bounced back 9.5 per cent.
The data firm, whose retail platform is used in over 1,200 pot shops in the U.S. and Canada, notes that cannabis consumers and stores were better adjusted this year to pandemic protocol.
When the novel coronavirus first hit last year, North Americans scrambled to adjust to major retail shutdowns, which were followed by cautious re-openings with curbside pickup and delivery options, or limited visitors into stores.
Foot traffic was higher at American pot shops on Tuesday than in Canada because U.S. consumers had greater freedom to visit retailers in most states.
A surge in Covid cases, a lag in vaccines and stricter lockdowns by provinces created challenges for Canadian sellers.
For Canada, the average customer basket on 4/20 was $52.48, a decrease of 2 per cent from a year earlier. But Canadian cannabis stores overall processed 5 per cent more transactions compared to last year.
In America, pot shops processed around 9 per cent more transactions over last year, and the average receipt per transaction also increased roughly 9 per cent to US$76.26.
Sales increased in the U.S. despite several point-of-sale systems crashing during peak hours on. Cova said this forced nearly 2,000 dispensaries to turn 4/20 shoppers away for hours.
Cova CEO Gary Cohen noted that while the pandemic hurt sales last 4/20 in America, overall revenues in April held strong because stoners spent their Covid relief checks on weed.
“This year, the relief was not timed around 4/20, but employment is higher, and access to stores easier,” he said in a statement. “Overall, 2021 was a great 4/20.”
US companies crush it on 4/20
Planet 13 Holdings Corp. (CSE: PLTH) (OTCQB: PLNHF) which operates the world’s biggest weed store in Las Vegas, says it crushed its single-day sales record.
Sales hit US$543,000 on Tuesday with gross margins in April above 50 per cent, according to the vertically-integrated Nevada cannabis firm.
“The demand and acceptance for cannabis is growing across the country, and nowhere is that more evident than in Las Vegas,” Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler said in a statement.
Scheffler says he’s excited for Nevada’s Covid restrictions to be relaxed on May 1, and for his company’s expansion rollout. It will double its sales floor and points of sale to 85 registers to handle surging demand and customer traffic.
Planet 13 says it’s hiring over 300 workers to staff its Vegas dispensary expansion and to support its new SuperStore opening in Orange Country, California on July 1.
Meanwhile, American cannabis company Ayr Wellness Inc. (CSE: AYR.A) (OTCQX: AYRWF) said it celebrated 4/20 with retail sales records across its six-state footprint.
In total, the firm reported 14,241 transactions and US$1.24 million in sales on Tuesday, for an average ticket of US$87. Retail gross margin also remained high at over 50 per cent.
Ayr says it did particularly well in Nevada with over 7,500 transactions. The state has re-opened casinos and entertainment venues.
More stores opening helps boost 4/20 sales, future projections
Seattle-based cannabis data firm Headset told Mugglehead that several U.S. states, as well as some Canadian provinces, broke sales records.
Recreational 4/20 sales in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington, as well as medical and adult-use sales in Oregon combined totalled US$42.6 million.
North of the border in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, combined adult-use sales reached $5.97 million.
Akerna, another Colorado-based cannabis software data firm, projected US$95 million in total U.S. cannabis sales on Tuesday, and a total of US$370 million when combining the four days prior.
The firm’s rival, Cova, says around 1,000 new cannabis stores opened in North America over the past year, namely in Ontario, California, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Combined with better weather, the impact of these market helped drive sales growth on the day.
With New York, Arizona and New Jersey legalizing recreational weed, Headset estimates total legal cannabis sales in the U.S. will reach US$28.3 billion by 2022, up from a projected US$22.8 billion this year.
Legal pot sales in Canada are projected to hit $5.3 billion next year, an increase from an estimated $4.1 billion in 2021, according to Headset.
Last week, the firm launched a new long-term forecasting tool for the U.S. and Canadian markets with category and top-level data to be updated at the end of each quarter.
Top image of City Cannabis store in Vancouver, British Columbia by Jared Gnam