Every year, a few days on the calendar evoke a Pavlovian response from cannabis enthusiasts. Of course, there’s April 20, which is Ganja Day all across the world. Green Wednesday, the day before “Thanksgiving,” is noted for being a good day to stock up on food before family get-togethers.
Those two days are called endemic holidays, which means they’re so strongly linked to the cannabis industry that devotees can claim them as their own unique occasions, using them as springboards to establish community, hold (mainly virtual) parties, and share memes.
According to research from cannatech startup Akerna, 4/20 and Nov. 24 were among the top cannabis sales days in 2021, ranking first and third, respectively.
According to James Ahrendt, business intelligence architect at Akerna, consumers spent $493 million on legal weed on those five days, a record-breaking amount that represents a 25% rise over the greatest five sales days of 2020.
According to Akerna, April 20 was the greatest online dispensary Canada sales day ever in the United States, with $111.8 million in sales.
Each of these top days made history, according to Ahrendt, who noted that the largest sales day in 2020, Dec. 31, “wouldn’t have even made it to the Top 5 chart in 2021.”
The heaviest purchase days of 2021 provide a useful view into today’s cannabis consumer for marketing at shops, brands, and delivery services, in addition to increasing the bottom line of America’s $25 billion legal cannabis industry.
From the sales data, here are five takeaways regarding weed fans:
1. They seek out bargains and plan ahead.
Price is one of the top three factors in consumer purchasing decisions, according to BDSA’s 2021 consumer insights report, and cannatech firm Flowhub reported that nearly 40% of transactions during the Christmas and New Year season included a discount, up from 18% on a typical non-holiday transaction.
Miss Grass co-founder and CEO Kate Miller told Adweek that “being really promo-driven at particular times of year helps to bring in new canna-curious consumers.” “It also caters to seasoned users seeking for bargains.”
Cannabis customers are increasingly planning ahead of time rather than shopping at the last minute. The Lantern delivery platform saw a 56 percent increase in daily order volume over the second weekend of December, according to executives. The brand also claimed a 110 percent rise in orders three days before New Year’s Eve.
2. It makes no difference to them who knows.
Consumers are less likely to hide their intake of flower, tinctures, edibles, and other THC-laced goods than they were in the past, even when gathering with family for the holidays.
Normalization is fashionable, even if some stigmas and preconceptions persist. So far, 36 states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, with more on the way.
According to a recent Weedmaps research titled “Cannabis in America,” 72 percent of consumers reported that practically everyone in their lives is aware of their marijuana use. According to the survey, 43% believe that using cannabis makes it easier to be around other people, and 40% believe that they are easier to be around when using cannabis.
“My guess is that people no longer feel compelled to hide or abstain from cannabis consumption when they travel home or visit particular social circles,” said Juanjo Feijoo, Weedmaps’ CMO and COO.
3. They are more involved in the holidays.
Cannabis users are ecstatic to be catered to and included in the process. It fosters a sense of communal acceptance and celebration, as well as increased sales.
—Miss Grass CEO Kate Miller
The use of popular holidays as a marketing hook by businesses, delivery services, and dispensaries is a relatively recent practice. Miss Grass’ Miller, for one, believes that in the past, customers may have felt excluded from many of the customary celebrations.
She stated, “Cannabis customers are delighted to be catered to and included.” “It fosters a sense of community acceptance and celebration, which boosts sales.” People are inspired to buy cannabis almost as a rebellious and joyful rally cry: “I’m going to celebrate this time the way I want to!”
In the coming weeks, look for some examples of this trend as weed marketers gear up for major events like the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day.
5. They make the most of extended weekends and free leisure.
While no one knows why September 3 is in the top five—why Labor Day?—industry experts believe the end of summer and a three-day weekend are to blame for the surge in sales.
For a few years, the Friday before Labor Day has ranked in the top ten, according to Ahrendt, who cites backyard barbecues, an extra day off work, and the start of the NFL season as possible explanations.
“It’s time to get back to the grind,” Feijoo said, adding that it can feel like a final hoorah for the carefree hot-weather season. It’s also one of the least family-oriented long weekends, which lend themselves to more recreational activities.”
April 20 has nearly mythological status, with roots dating back to the 1970s, and even mainstream corporations have gotten in with stunts, discounts, content, and promotions.
Weed businesses treat it like a combination of the Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve, July 4th, and Black Friday, and newcomers and loyalists alike turn out in droves, tuning in to live digital concerts and socially-minded mini-conferences. They also take advantage of price reductions and buy one, get one free deals.
“Retailers and brands are embracing it wholeheartedly, resulting in continuous sales growth,” Feijoo said. “In the case of 2021, 420 fell just as the winter wave of Covid-19 was slowing down in the United States, vaccines were starting to become more widely available, and there was a lot of pent-up desire to congregate and safely enjoy the day.”