Why Cannabis Retailers Should Start Planning Their 2022 Holiday Sales Now

Now that the holidays are done – dried-out Christmas trees recycled, menorahs stored, New Year’s Eve confetti discarded – cannabis entrepreneurs, who enjoyed good sales for 2021 the holiday season, may want to start planning for the next one.
Written by 
Joan Oleck, Cannabis Journalist.
|Last Updated:

And as they do that, they may want to leave out excessive discounts for their customers.

Explained senior data analyst at Headset Cooper Ashley: At holiday time, “Customers are looking to purchase gifts; and easily-shareable products (such as edibles and beverages) aren’t very price sensitive at this time of year.”

This was one of the findings among the 2020 and 2021 holiday season cannabis-sales data just released jointly by Seattle-based cannabis analytics company Headset, B2B company Leaflink and cannabis software manufacturer Flowhub.

“According to the data, the holidays are a great time for cannabis businesses to capitalize on the organic demand that drives customers into dispensaries,” Ashley said in an email about Headset’s findings. That “organic” demand, he indicated, is exclusive of demand driven by big discounts belonging to, say, 4/20, the annual spring “holiday” that celebrates cannabis, and Black Friday.

The annual bump in sales (tracked in both Canada and the U.S.) for the week leading up to Christmas 2021 was fully 33 percent greater than the average in daily sales during the preceding four weeks, Headset reported. “Cannabis shoppers are clearly procrastinators,” the company noted in its release, “as Christmas Eve itself saw a 61 percent increase in sales over the previous four Thursdays. Of all days in December, New Year’s Eve actually [took] the top spot in terms of total cannabis sales.”

Headset sources its data from participating retail cannabis stores’ point-of-sale systems-receipts data. From those figures, the company found that in both of the North American countries examined, the highest-selling categories were topicals, beverages and edibles. Topicals, Ashley explained, make for great gifts; they’re popular because they lack a psychoactive effect but still offer local relief for aches and pains. Beverages and edibles, for their part, are gift-giver favorites since they’re easy to share and appeal to new or infrequent users.

New Year’s sales in the United States for 2021, meanwhile, were down a bit from 2020, Headset reported, a scenario which may have been influenced by the Omicron variant and overall Covid surge. In Canada, tinctures and sublingual products were brisk sellers, thought to be driven by the popularity of the product Kin Slips.

Some of the most popular products identified by New York-based Leaflink included Wedding Cake indica, from Pacific Stone; the Mango Mang cartridge, from PLUGplay; and the Runtz oil pen 510 Thread, from Platinum Vape.

Leaflink also reported that the sales it tracked back in December 2020 increased 7.7 percent for that holiday month, compared to the negative average rate of -3.3 percent in the prior three months, “signaling that the holiday season positively impacted sales.”

Another Leaflink finding was that flower was its retailers’ most popular cannabis category leading up to the holidays in 2020. This category drove 32.7 percent of sales. That was actually a small dip down from the 32.9 percent of sales of flower in the previous month. The second most popular category leading up to the holidays in 2020 was cartridges, Leaflink reported.

Finally, the third data contributor, Denver-based Flowhub, ahead of the holiday season of 2021, predicted “huge days” for Christmas and New Year’s sales specifically because both events fell near weekends. But holiday sales seem to have a reliable boost in general. Over the past four years, Flowhub reported that it saw “46 percent of the top 10 sales days were in November and December, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.” In fact, December 31, 2020 was that year’s top sales day, with 69 percent more sales than in a typical day. The second biggest sales day that year? December 24, Christmas Eve.

Supporting its “huge days” prediction for holiday falling on weekends, Flowhub reported that, indeed, its top 10 sales days the previous four years had all occurred on either a Friday or Saturday.

This year? Christmas and New Year’s Day 2022 will both occur on a weekend day (Sunday). So, as Flowhub in its release wisely advised cannabis retailers, “Start planning your holiday deals now!”



Joan Oleck
Joan Oleck
Cannabis Journalist
Joan Oleck is a freelance writer currently specializing in the cannabis industry and cannabis tech. She has been an editor and reporter on staff for such publications as Forbes.com, Business Week, Newsday and The Detroit News. She won the Jesse Neal Award for best feature series in a trade publication, Restaurant Business, and a GLAAD Award for a Salon story about discrimination in adoption against single and gay parents

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